by Lisa Tome
When it came to helping children in need for the holidays, Ravens Roost #119 didn't turn anyone away.
When it came to those wanting to help with the event, roost president Terry Craig had no choice but to turn down offers of assistance.
Craig explained that the roost requested the names of 15 children in need from each of three area elementary schools - Rising Sun, Calvert, and Conowingo. The schools submitted a few extra names and the roost was glad to help.
When it came time to gather gifts for those children, Craig was inundated with offers. "Everyone is generous. I had to turn people away with that," said Craig.
The two months of planning and preparation came to fruition on Saturday at American Legion Post 194, when the roost hosted nearly 50 children and their families for breakfast, visits and photos with Santa, gifts, and crafts. This year, Gibney's Auction also chipped in extra gifts. Each family also took home a food basket with all the fixings for a holiday meal.
Robert Fritz was a roost volunteer. This was the third time the roost has hosted the event but the first time Fritz participated. "The kids are excited. That's what it's all about. We brought in the gifts, sorted the gifts and will be serving breakfast," said Fritz. Shane Price also volunteered. He poured juice and milk for the families. "This is what this organization is all about - giving back to the community and putting smiles on the kid's faces," said Price.
Calvert Elementary Guidance Counselor Diane Little both attended the breakfast and helped refer children. She said that at Calvert, a committee selected the children. She said that the selections weren't based solely on need. She said that children who may need a "boost" were also chosen to attend the breakfast. "This is a fun event to go to. Everybody here is happy, smiling and excited," said Little. "This provides families with happy moments."
Blake Holmes, a Calvert student who was chosen to go to the breakfast, changed clothes after he arrived. Holmes entered the event wearing a Steelers jacket and hat.
He and the other children were given a Raven Roost #119 shirt. Holmes changed into that.
Tina Brewer brought four children to the breakfast. "I think it's really nice. It's nice not to have to cook breakfast for everybody. An event like this helps," said Brewer. "It makes you not worry about if they're (children) not getting much (for Christmas). And it's nice to get out with other people in the community."
Glen Hinkle is vice president of Ravens Roost #119. He bought Legos and a football for a child he doesn't know. "This is the best event we do all year," said Hinkle.