At Rotary’s annual Christmas for Kids, instead of the traditional sleigh, Santa Claus arrives in 21st century California style: in a sporty Lexus convertible. Every year the annual Christmas luncheon delights about 150 children with a visit from Santa – played again this year by Bob Buchser – holiday treats, entertainment and toys specially chosen for them and wrapped by hardworking Rotarian elves.
Every child also goes home with a warm, new winter coat and gifts that will make the New Year a little happier and a little more confortable for their families.
Rotary’s annual gift to children springs from a spirit of generosity that’s never out of style.
The students invited to the Christmas party come from families facing economic hardships – parents who are underemployed, have lost jobs or a home – or other kinds of crisis. Some have disabilities. Others are recent immigrants, struggling to make their place in American society. For some, these will be the only gifts under the Christmas tree. For others, there might not even be a tree to put them under.
Like Charles Dickens’ immortal character Tiny Tim Crachit from “A Christmas Carol” – the child whose young life will be crushed by poverty and indifference unless someone reaches out – they’re children who need a helping hand. “We hope these beautiful children had a great celebration and know that are special and loved, said event co-chair Margaret Demorest.
And so, thanks to Santa Clara Rotary and event co-chairs Demorest and Libby Mayo, these kids got to enjoy some VIP attention last Thursday. “Every child should have something that’s just theirs for the holidays,” many families can’t provide this, so we get to the parents’ and Santa’s helpers,” said Demorest.
In addition to more than a dozen hardworking club members, high school Rotary Interact members volunteered their time and many local businesses contributed to make the event a success.
Lexus of Stevens Creek supplied the venue, Christmas trees, toys and the bow-wrapped Lexus convertible in which Santa arrived. Holder’s Country Inn, as always, provided lunch and Royal Couch Tours again contributed transportation.
At the end of the day, it seemed like the grownups were having as much fun as the kids. “We probably get as much joy and satisfaction as the kids do,” said a tired but smiling Mayo.
As Dickens himself put it more than 170 years ago, “It is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas.”
For nearly 80 years, Santa Clara Rotary has been giving its time and energy to serve the community, with a special focus on young people. “Organizing the Christmas for Kids has become an annual hallmark of what the Rotary Club of Santa Clara stands for in service its youth and community,” said Rotary PR and Social Media Marketing Director Habir Batia. “The pleasure that this event brings to the children is a source of pride for our club.”
In addition to Christmas for Kids, Santa Clara Rotary Club sponsors Steps for Success – which ensures that students start the school year in properly fitting new shoes – the Enterprise Leadership program that teaches business skills to teens, and Rotary International’s worldwide campaign in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO) to eradicate polio.
The club’s weekly lunch meetings are Thursdays at 12:15 p.m. at the Bay Club Santa Clara, 3250 Central Expressway. For information, visit www.santaclararotary.org.