Santa makes early appearance for annual Kids Day program
Clif Knight, Hartselle Enquirer
Santa and over 20 volunteer helpers left Sparkman Civic Center filled with Christmas cheer Friday morning after handing out individually wrapped gifts and bags of candy to more than 425 youngster who participated in Hartselle's 58th annual Kids Day program. The project is sponsored by John F. Thompson American Legion Post 52 and its auxiliary.
"I'm just glad I got to be a part of it," Santa said. "If you come here without the Christmas spirit, it will catch up with you in a hurry. The look you see in the faces of the kids is something to behold. This may be all they'll get for Christmas. It will bring tears to your eyes."
The volunteers were equally moved by what they observed.
"It's a joy to be able to help kids that are not going to have much of a Christmas," said Jerry Cleek, a Kids Day committee member.
"It was exciting and fun because you don't get to do something like this all the time," said Hartselle High student April Pershin.
Steven Chop, Hartselle High baseball and basketball player, added, It made me feel good because the kids were happy and having fun."
"Loving one another and sharing with those less fortunate, that's what Christmas is all about," said Bill Partridge, emcee of the event.
"It's a very special event for underprivileged children," said Sheryl Bumpus, a special education teacher at Falkville Elementary School. "They really look forward to coming and they're so thankful for what they receive."
"It's a wonderful way to reach out to others in need," said Hartselle Mayor Dwight Tankersley. It means a lot to see the excitement and smiles on the faces of the kids. I appreciate the work the Legion post and others do to make it possible."
Other post members who served on the Kids Day committee were John Paul Johnson, post commander, Bill Hart and John Wyble.
Santa's helpers in addition to those already identified were VICA members Erica Watson and Lindsey Ellison, HHS baseball players Nathan Kimbrell, Daxton Maze, Cody Stisher, and Keith McCaghren, auxiliary member Elaine Cleek and Heidi Schultheir, Lindsay Roberts, Beth Train and Leeanna Cleek.
Receiving gifts were K-4 students from Hartselle's three elementary schools, Cotaco, Falkville, Danville-Neel, Sparkman, Union Hill, Ryan and Eva.