By: Holly Hollman
The community worked together to ensure children in Athens enjoyed the Christmas season.
About 85 children received presents and more than 20 won bicycles at the annual Lincoln-Bridgeforth Park Committee Tree Lighting and Gift Giveaway.
Each year, the committee works with the Boys and Girls Club and families in the area to help Santa provide a gift to each child who attends. In addition, there are random drawings for bicycles. The community ensured this year's event was one of the largest to date, said Councilman Frank Travis.
East Limestone Band with assistance from Chick-fil-A, Edward Jones, Village Pizza at East Limestone, and Village Vet filled its trailer, the one recently stolen in Birmingham and recovered. East Limestone Band Director Jennifer "Miss Sam" Janzen said the students wanted to give back to the community this season as a thank you for those who helped share news about the stolen trailer, which led to the recovery of the trailer which was filled with band instruments.
The donations meant that no child left the event without a gift.
“This event is one of my favorites because you see what can happen in a community when people work together to bring smiles to children’s faces,” Athens Mayor Ronnie Marks said.
The mayor's office assisted in event planning, and Athens Fire and Rescue assisted with collecting and wrapping presents. The Athens Mayor's Youth Commission and Lowe's employees joined firefighters and committee members to help wrap the donated gifts.
Among the donors were Athens State University's Young Alumni Advisory Council, which donated $500, and employees at Limestone County DHR who shopped for gifts to donate.
Santa arrived via firetruck and danced on picnic tables, and Kingdom United sang carols. The Youth Commission, Athens Fire and Rescue, and Mayor's Office helped the park committee give out snacks and distribute gifts. A wonderful time was had by all.
By: Holly Hollman