Streetsboro -- Ten years ago, when Community Christmas was established, it helped provide gifts for 96 children who might otherwise not have had much, if anything, under the tree on Christmas morning.
In the 10 years since it was established, organizer Pam Danner said Community Christmas has grown every year, serving more nearly 500 children this season.
Danner said those 500 children came from about 150 needy families from Streetsboro and the surrounding area.
"Once we serve our people from Streetsboro who are registered, then we reach out and serve the larger community," said Danner in a Dec. 13 interview.
She said she donates to needy families around the county via the Salvation Army.
Gifts were gathered and organized by age and type Dec. 11 at St. Joan of Arc Parish's Fr. Stenson Center by Danner and a small army of volunteers.
The next day, Dec. 12, qualifying Streetsboro families came through and picked out Christmas gifts for their children.
Danner estimates around 120 volunteers helped Dec. 11 and 12 by organizing gifts, helping parents select gifts and wrapping gifts.
"We ran out of name tags again," said Danner. "The volunteers are what really make it happen -- not me. The seed was planted, and it's growing more and more as people continue to take ownership of the event."
That feeling of ownership was put to the test this year since Danner was under the weather and unable to help organize gifts Dec. 11.
"All in all, it was a wonderful event," she said. "I think it went off without a hitch. I wasn't there on Wednesday and everything got done."
Student and adult volunteers from Streetsboro High School, Streetsboro Middle School, Andrews Moving and Storage, L'Oreal, Streetsboro Family Days and more helped during the event, and numerous others supported the event through donations.
Even Mr. and Mrs. Claus found time to visit.
"They've been coming from probably at least the last five years," said Danner.
About 15 members of St. Joan of Arc's Christ Has All Our Solutions (CHAOS), had about 15 volunteers at the event. CHAOS is the parish's youth organization.
FB: The Gateway News/Bob Gaetjens