Warwick unites to help children in need
Members of the community are invited to join in by volunteering or donating

Photoby Vicki Hague Planning is in full gear for the annual Warwick Holiday Party for Children in Need. Among those organizing the Dec. 8 event at the Warwick Reformed Church are, left to right, Lion Trish Smyth, Backpack Coordinator Shirley Puett, Chosun member Master Cheryl Crouchen, Rotary chair Marge King-Porter (seated), Rotary co-chair Joyce Perron, Lion Doug Stage, Lion Chris Stage, Lion chair Claire Gabelmann and Rotarian Stan Martin.

WARWICK — Another example of how the Warwick community unites to make a difference is the annual Holiday Project for Children in Need.
Warwick Valley Rotarians, Warwick Lions Club members, Chosun Taekwondo’s Leadership Team, the Backpack Snack Attack Program and the Warwick Reformed Church, plus many local businesses and individuals, work together to create a memorable holiday for local families in need.
The committee works all year to put this event together. An estimated 150 children will be served at this year’s holiday party, scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 8, at the Warwick Reformed Church.
At two back-to-back parties, “elf” volunteers escort small groups of children to various stations which include games with prizes, cookie decorating, professional portrait photo with Santa and a holiday meal.
A “shop” with new donated gift items is the station kids love the most. They choose gifts for their families and then wrap them.
Roots The “shopping” feature has roots to when Warwick Jaycees took about 30 children to local shops to choose gifts for their families. Warwick Lions took over and the event has grown over the years.
Four years ago, another local service club, Warwick Valley Rotary, joined the project. This has allowed more children to participate.
Santa presents all the children with giant gift bags filled with clothing, shoes, underwear, sox, hats, gloves and toys chosen just for them.
Warwick residents Linda and Mark Stephan provide ShopRite gift cards for families of the guests. Transportation is provided as well.
Claire Gabelmann, Warwick's 2016-17 Citizen of the Year, coordinates the event for the Lions Club and Marge King-Porter, a current Warwick Community Service Award winner, is the Rotary event chair, assisted by Joyce Perron.
How people helpMembers of the community sponsor the children by donating $65 per child, $100 per family or by shopping for a specific child and providing the items indicated. Other businesses and individuals donate new gift items, wrapping paper, pizza and desserts. Still others volunteer their time.
Student members of the Leadership Committee of Chosun Taekwondo Academy hold fund raisers to sponsor an average of 25 children a year. These students also decorate and help set up for the party.
High school members of the Rotary Interact Club volunteer their time to wrap gifts for the kids the week prior to the event.
Members of the Backpack Snack Attack Committee solicit applications and donate gift items and sponsor kids.
The Alamo and Warwick Area Migrant Committee help fill out applications and provide transportation for guests.
Jennifer Karon Photography provides a professional portrait for each child. Pictures with Santa are taken by Dragonfly Studio and Spadafina Photography.
ShopRite of Warwick sends volunteers as well as donating a gift card that is used to purchase supplies.
Greenwood Lake and Florida Lions Clubs help out at the party and sponsor children. Local pizza parlors and bakeries donate refreshments.
Many more individuals and businesses contribute to the success of this event.
EssentialsSponsors and donations are always needed to provide clothing, shoes and toys plus gift items for the “shop” where the children choose gifts for their families.
To contact the committee to offer help or for more information contact:
• Warwick Rotary at (845) 987-7297 or warwickvalleyrotary.org; or
• Warwick Lions Club at (845) 986-1681 or warwickcares@gmail.com.