A lot of effort makes Breakfast With Santa success

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 17, 2003

On Saturday, my oldest son, Brandon, had a basketball game at Dawson-Bryant Middle School. With my wife sick in bed with strep throat, I had my two youngest children with me.

Brandon had to be at his game early, so I decided to kill a little time by taking my other two children to the Coal Grove Lions and Betterment Club's annual Breakfast with Santa, which was going next door at Coal Grove High School.

Being pressed for time, I knew we wouldn't be able to eat breakfast, but at least the kids would get to visit with Santa. Brady, my 3-year-old, has been itching to tell Santa Claus what he wants for Christmas - cake, M & Ms and a SpongeBob tape.

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As I walked into the Dawson-Bryant High School cafeteria, I was in for a shock as hundreds of people were eating breakfast, in line to sit on Santa's lap or in line to have a balloon animal made by Gary Boothe. At that moment, I knew this was not your average, everyday breakfast with Santa.

What is even more amazing, all of it is free - the food, the entertainment, the treats and the visit with Santa. How can this happen? It happens because some civic-minded organizations want to give back to the community, particularly the children.

The Lions Club donates all of the food and the members donate their time cooking it. The Betterment Club donates all of the items for the treat bags handed out to children as they visit Santa Claus. Scout troops donate their time to bus tables and pass out condiments and silverware. All of the entertainers donate their time. Local businesses donate items and money.

It is just a cooperative effort that has allowed this wonderful event go on for a number of years. Not many communities offer such an event to its residents and fewer offer one free of charge.

My hat is off to the Lions Club, the Betterment Club and everyone else who chipped in to make Saturday's Breakfast with Santa a huge hit. Each one of these individuals deserve a pat on the back.

As I left the Dawson-Bryant cafeteria Saturday, however, I did have a few regrets. 1.) I didn't get to eat any of the food (it smelled great); 2.) I didn't have enough time to stay a little longer; 3.) I couldn't get my children any of the balloon animals (or I should say creatures since I saw an alien or two); and 4.) Brady didn't get a chance to give Santa a big hug and kiss and tell him he loves him (he was a little upset with me because of this).

There's always next year.

Shawn Doyle is managing editor of The Ironton Tribune. He can be reached by calling (740) 532-1445 ext. 19 or by e-mail to shawn.doyle@irontontribune.com