There was food, dancing, face painting and even an appearance by Santa Claus at Le Rizz reception hall in St. Leonard, Que., on Tuesday.
For a fourth year, members of the Black community mobilized to plan and host a huge holiday reception for around 900 children, many of whom come from impoverished neighbourhoods.
“Today it’s all about giving back to the community,” said Angie Chérubin, owner of SheGoals Fitness and the main organizer of Tuesday’s reception. “(For) some of them it’s going to be their only gift for Christmas.”
Each child received a personalized gift directly from Santa.
“Some kids are less fortunate than others, everybody leaves with a gift,” said Terry Fonatine, regional director of PMG Groupe, the main sponsor for the event.
“Some kids leave with a little bit more. We actually speak with the school and try to verify the kids that need a little bit more,” he added.
Everyone had a smile on their face including the many volunteers who helped make the event possible.
“It was an honour and a pleasure to be here today,” said Robert Applyrs who hosted the reception. “It was good for the heart, good for the soul, for these kids and everyone in the community,” he added.
Nobody was happier than the children.
Grade 4 student Darryl said his favourite part was eating popcorn with his friends, while nine-year-old Tenuke said she loved the bouncy castle.
Every year organizers try to host more children. Next year they hope to make the event even bigger.