Santa came early this year, bringing holiday cheer and bags full of presents for children at the Boys & Girls Club of Metro Queens in South Richmond Hill, thanks to The Queens Courier’s annual holiday gift drive.
With a joyful “ho ho ho,” Father Christmas greeted over 100 girls and boys between the ages of 5 and 10, who gasped and wore broad smiles when they saw that Santa Claus had come to town.
The organization’s elementary school program introduces children to a range of topics such as robotics, astronomy, video game development, visual arts and sport activities. They emphasize STEM enrichment and provide homework assistance and tutoring for young people. Additionally, cultural understanding is highlighted as children are led to explore various cultures through food, music and dance.
Toys were donated to The Courier’s holiday gift drive by Courier readers and advertisers as well as visitors to the LIC Flea & Food Holiday Market in Long Island City. Donations also came in from Assemblyman Edward Braunstein and Flushing Bank, which helped collect toys at branches throughout the borough.
Noah Rodriguez, 6, who made sure he got more than one photo with Santa, received a Ninja Turtles board game and said he couldn’t wait to get home and play with it.
Kailey Ceboller, 6, said she was “surprised” to see Old Saint Nick and felt happy when he gave her a Barbie princess doll as a gift.
Another boy, 7-year-old Angel Sigaran, was all smiles when Santa took out a toy truck from his bag of presents.
“I feel excited and happy and want to go home and play with [the truck],” he said. “It feels so good to see Santa.”