December 17, 2013 8:55 am ET
Source: Spreading Christmas Cheer
“Once upon a time, just two weeks before Christmas, the Optimist Club teamed with the Walmart Foundation to kick off the holiday season with the goal of providing a Blast of Christmas cheer for some area children…”
In the above “not-a-fairy-tale” beginning, I highlighted a few key words that are reflective of this blog’s topic. Some of our Dundalk youngsters had the opportunity—thanks to the Dundalk Optimist Club and the Walmart Foundation—to go Christmas shopping with members of the Baltimore Blast soccer team.
And, from what I was told, the Blast has a direct line to the North Pole and ol’ Saint Nick himself, so you can consider this an “official gift giving operation” by Santa’s standards.
Dundalk Optimist President Paul Kram gave birth to this event, which is a slightly different twist on the long standing theme of “Shop with a Cop.” You see, Paul was the manager of the Walmart on North Point Road before heading west to manage another Walmart store. His idea was to gather the children for breakfast with the Blast players before everyone headed to Walmart with a $100 gift certificate in hand.
Then, once the gifts were purchased, the players—along with plenty of Santa’s helpers—wrapped them with ribbons and bows to provide that special holiday glow. It took a couple of Santa’s helpers and some fast moving reindeer (i.e., the Walmart shuttle bus) to get the children to the Christmas tree on time, but it was a great ride for all of those that took part. This included members of the Optimist Club, Walmart Foundation, the Baltimore Blast, and the Patapsco United Methodist Church, the latter of which provided the breakfast for the children.
Now before I go any further in this special Christmas blog, I must mention all of Santa’s helpers. After all, we know how busy Santa is at this time of the year, so he needed a lot of help. He told me via a red-nosed email that I should thank all of those who volunteered to assist him in the celebration of community spirit.
I’ll do this in elven order—a protocol upon which Mrs. Klaus insisted.
T’was the night of the Optimist board meeting,
And everyone was there,
When President Paul Kram,
With a little gray in his hair,
Had a grand Christmas idea
That the Blast should be there.
Paul got the notion
And put it into motion.
So with a call to Kevin Healey,
The Blast GM, really
The grand Christmas plan
Was placed in good hands.
Things started to come together
Surer than Christmas brings colder weather.
Next, the principal at Sandy Plains,
Ms. Sharon Gregory, took the reins.
She, in her good holiday grace,
Gathered 15 children around the fireplace.
(Note: Actually, there was no fireplace, but there was plenty of warmth provided by the hearts of children having the opportunity to feel special for one glorious day. Besides, “fireplace” rhymed.)
Now with the plan squarely in mind,
School Counselor Catherine Brasher (mother Klaus), mighty kind,
Gathered her student brood,
Who were now in a festive mood,
For a hearty breakfast event
Before the visit to Santa commenced.
Pastor Katie Grover, bless her heart,
Said use my church to get your start.
She helped prepare all of the food
That was devoured by the hungry brood.
And who else did appear?
No, not the man with the reindeer.
At that table with the children dear,
Along with all of the volunteers,
Were the Blast players with their holiday cheer
To help the children feel so dear.
Then, after breakfast was done,
Began all of the real fun.
The players helped the cause
By supporting Santa Claus
To team with those deserving young dears
Who got a “blast” of Christmas cheer.
It’s amazing what can be done
When the community and businesses work as one.
A special “Santa thanks” to the Blast players: Tony Donatelli, Lucio Gonzaga, Freddie Moojen, Max Ferdinand, Troy Hernandez, Lucas Roque, Adauto Neto, Adriano Dos Santos, Pat Healey, William Vanzela, and J.T. Noone.
Well, that’s enough of my poetry. Please be sure to check out all of the photos I took and see this wonderful concept unfold. Each picture shows the joy of the holiday season through the eyes of our young people.
MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!