Welcome Hall Mission in St-Henri welcomed more than 2,260 children and their parents on Saturday to their annual Noël Pour Tous event.
According to Welcome Mission Hall, the event allows low-income families to have an easier time during the holidays.
“Children get the chance to see Santa Claus and they get to experience sort of that fun part of Christmas,” said CEO Sam Watts. “We don’t want them to miss out on that just because they’re part of families who have a lower revenue.”
Fifty per cent of people at this year’s event were newcomers, according to Watts. Welcome Hall Mission says they hope to add magic to their first Christmas in Montreal, through Noël Pour Tous and their free grocery store Marché Bon Acceuil.
“We want to give them that experience of being raised up and feeling like everything is normal,” said Watts. “And not just at Christmas time, but all throughout the year.”
“The children have fun here and they take a lot of pictures with Santa,” said Engyabdel Shahed. “We really enjoy this event.”
Parents said the best part about this day is to see the smile on their children’s faces when they see Santa Claus and receive their brand new toys.
“My children are so happy to see Santa,” said newcomer Patience Olurotimi. “It’s once a year so we are happy to be here.”
Some former players also joined in on the fun to help distribute the 7,000 gifts and hand out signed photos to Montreal children.
For many and most, Christmas is all about giving and young Israel Olurotimi wanted to make sure Santa Claus doesn’t get left out this year.
“He spends so much time going all around the world giving all of the kids presents even though nobody gives him presents,” said Olurotimi.