William Sommerville

Elks host Christmas party for Langley kids

Attendance dropped, but many children still enjoyed the lodge’s celebration with Santa.

Attendance was down a bit at this year’s Langley Elk’s children’s Christmas party, but spirits remained high.

The kids had a blast at the party, which has been almost a year in the planning, said organizers and Elk member Debbie Paddon.

“I feel that Christmas is such a special season that everybody should have the opportunity to enjoy it. If we give one child a good Christmas, we have done our job,” said Paddon, who has arranged these annual holiday celebrations for the past 13 years.

Langley Elks held the community children’s Christmas party at the George Preston Recreation Centre in Brookswood earlier this month, and president Barb Gee said it’s a fun and rewarding way for her service group to help some young families in town.

“We arrange the children’s party to help the children in the community to enjoy a festive Christmas with Santa,” Gee said.

She commended Paddon for her efforts to organize the event, noting that she buys Christmas presents for all the kids throughout the year, and starts early contacting various businesses and asking for their assistance.

“She has no shortage of dedication and energy,” Gee said of her friend and fellow lodge member.

Flyers promoting the event were dropped off to the Langley food banks, Ishtar Transition House, and several other locations throughout the community. But, for some reason, this year a number of locations refused to accept the flyers.

As a result, turn out for the party was smaller than other years, but Gee said there were still 64 children – ranging in age from infancy to 11 years old – who all did attend and enjoyed crafts, magic, games, facepainting, temporary tattoos, cupcake icing, and visiting with Santa.

For the second year running, William Sommerville brought his four children (ranging in age from three to nine years old) to the party, and he said they “loved it.”

Lutini the Magician was their favourite, second only to their visit with Santa and the receipt of a small present.

“The kids always enjoy themselves,” he said, acknowledging that it’s becoming a tradition for his family – much like hunting for cool Christmas light displays.

In addition to all the businesses that donated door prizes, gifts, food and beverages, along with services to help make the party possible, Paddon was also grateful to the volunteers. That included Elks and their family members, as well as social justice students from Alder University and Family Hope Clinic.

Elks fundraisers, such as the recent hot dog sale in downtown Langley City’s Save-On-Foods parking lot, also help offset the costs of hosting this and other community events.

CAPTION: Elks Lodge president Barb Gee – who was collecting food donations last month for the food bank – was pleased with the outcome of the recent children’s Christmas party.

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