NEWBERRY — Months of planning and preparation fell into place when the children of Thornwell Children’s Home and Boys Farm received a Christmas celebration.
The annual Rotary Christmas party was held Friday afternoon as 24 elementary school aged children from the homes for children in a unique foster care environment were thrown a party.
“I do it because I want to see the children happy and smiling,” Debbie Waldrop said. “This may be the only thing these kids receive. It’s all for them.”
Waldrop, along with a committee of nine other Newberry Rotarians, helped pull the event together held at Central United Methodist Church in downtown Newberry. The committee also included Kathy Fuller, David Senn, John Glasgow, Debbie Hartness, Debbie St. Mark, Donna Lominack, Willie Morris, Dr. Bob Brown and Cindy Johnson.
Brown, a member of the church, secured the building’s family life center for the event. Brown said he enjoys seeing the children light up as they receive a gift from Santa and open a toy.
“After your children grow up, you have to enjoy someone else’s,” he said, smiling.
The children were greeted by Rotarians at the door and sat, chatted and hung out with a Rotarian while Newberry Middle’s choral group sang Christmas songs. The highlight was the arrival of Santa doing Jolly Old Saint Nick’s duty by lending an ear and a smile and of course, a ho, ho, ho.
The Christmas party has been an annual event since 1965, starting first with the Thornwell Children’s Home, according to long-time Rotarian Gordon Henry. The Boys Farm was added probably in the 1990s.