“Sorry, I’m late. The freeway traffic was murder,” explained Santa Claus, making his merry way across the Emmanuel Church gymnasium. But the BCR clients of BCR A Place To Grow didn’t mind in the least. They’d been singing holiday carols with their beloved “Pia the elf”, while their bellies were happily digesting a helping or two of Handi Mart’s lasagna.
Sporting a top hat, Emcee Gregory Madore ushered Santa to his special chair by the Christmas tree. His fellow Rotarians, who were now serving desserts and otherwise bussing the tables, smiled in anticipation.
Santa called each BCR client by name to come to him. One by one, they received their present (and goodie bag) and quickly proceeded to eagerly tear off the wrappings. They proudly displayed their gifts to friends, family, and caregivers. Somehow, Santa had known exactly what they had wished for!
“Seeing their faces light up in sheer joy is one of my favorite parts of the holiday season,” said Rotarian Mary Gilbert, the long-time organizer of the annual dinner for BCR clients.
The festive evening, occurring during the first week of December has also become a favorite holiday tradition of both the Burbank Sunrise and Burbank Noon Rotary clubs. Club members served dinner to about 100 people this year.
The party concluded with Pia the elf singing more holiday favorites as her BCR fans sang and danced around her.