As chestnuts roast on an open fire and Jack Frost nips at our noses, the city is decorated with lights and trees every where you look. Houses are illuminated by Santa Claus figurines; shopping malls are crowded with thousands of patrons looking to catch seasonal sales. I have been in and out the malls myself, while enduring the shopping madness (long lines/ sold out items etc). I was not as bothered by those things as I was by a young mother I had seen. The African American woman was in the mall with her 2 children, who were asking about pictures with Santa, and what they were getting for Christmas. She responded “it is too expensive come on” as they raced to the bus stop.
Indeed the cheapest pictures I found in the city were $10 dollars per child, not to mention the time and money it takes to get to most shopping malls if you are on the bus. With children’s toys getting pricier the year, “expensive” is an understatement. It is because of these reasons that the two events I will mention were so important in our community.
On Saturday December 15th from 11am to 1pm, Alderman Chevy Johnson and Senator Lena Taylor paid host to a toy drive at the Silver Spring Neighborhood Center. Children received teddy bears, hats, scarves, mittens and toys at the drive only costing them a smile. It was the 2nd annual holiday event hosted by Johnson who has been heavily involved with the neighborhood. Combined with his commitment and Senator Taylor’s natural ability to connect with children and her warm smiles, the children felt at home.
After that event from 2 pm to 4pm at Pete’s Market hosted “pictures with Santa”. Not only is the location unique, but Santa himself was played by an African American man, something rarely seen. The pictures were also free, saving parents at least 10 dollars per child.
Both events were a success helping to serves well over 100 families. I am not sure if the mother from the mall made it, but the events helped so many like her. Thank you to all who have done something to help those in need.