Children all across the Pahrump Valley and Beatty areas were able to head out this month to enjoy a delicious, hot meal and the opportunity to meet one of the biggest icons of this time of the year, Santa Claus.
Lions Club event
Each December the Pahrump Valley Lions Club gets into the spirit of the season with its annual Breakfast with Santa event and this year’s undertaking was declared to be another rousing success. According to Lions Club members, between 125 and 150 residents turned out on Dec. 7 for the 2019 Breakfast with Santa, which was held in two separate locations, both Pahrump and Beatty.
Attendees were treated to pancakes, sausage and a beverage, cooked up fresh by Lions Club volunteers and the man in red himself was on-site, settled in front of a Christmas tree sparkling with holiday baubles and lights.
The youngsters were able to sit down with Santa and tell him all about what they would like for Christmas and were even able to hand-deliver their personal letters for the Lions Club’s Letters to Santa program. As part of its annual efforts, the Lions Club collects these Letters to Santa and then helps old Kris Kringle out by purchasing and delivering gifts to fulfill the children’s Christmas wishes.
A new element, a bike raffle, was included in this year’s Breakfast with Santa, adding to the overall excitement. Kids attending the event were able to submit a raffle ticket and a total of eight bikes, two boy’s bikes and two girl’s bikes at each location, were raffled off to the obviously ecstatic youngsters.
“This year’s Breakfast with Santa was a great success,” Lions Club member Sue Bai said following the event. “Attendance was up from last year. Kids and adults alike enjoyed the pancakes and the kids had a great time visiting with Santa and his elf. The kids were excited to enter the drawings for bikes and those who went home with them were very happy.”
Bai explained that the Letters to Santa program and the accompanying Breakfast with Santa events grew out of a very simple desire to bring Christmas joy to the hearts of young children. When Lions Club Past District Governor Larry Bai discovered that letters kids in Pahrump wrote to Santa were routed to a post office in Las Vegas, never to be seen again, rather than shrugging this fact off, he seized on the chance it presented.
Larry worked with the local Pahrump postmaster to arrange for those letters to instead make their way to the Lions Club. That was 18 years ago and ever since, the Lions Club has been delivering presents to valley children who participate in the Letters to Santa program, inspiring countless smiles and spreading Christmas cheer far and wide.
“Since that time we have shopped, wrapped and delivered gifts every year to anywhere from 35 kids the first year to a peak of 400 kids another year,” Sue said. “It is a very satisfying feeling to know that we are providing Christmas to some of these kids who may not otherwise have one. The smiles on the kids’ faces when we deliver the gifts make this all worthwhile. Our members are committed to serving our community and we are truly excited to continue this holiday tradition.”
J.G. Johnson event
The Pahrump Valley Lions were not the only ones embracing the holiday season, either, with the Parent Advisory Committee at J.G. Johnson Elementary coming together to organize a Breakfast with Santa event on Dec. 7, too.
Students and their families were invited for a morning of feasting and fun with Santa and Mrs. Claus, with the school auditorium decked out in Christmas style and plenty of picture opportunities to partake of. The meal of pancakes and sausage was obviously satisfying, with attendees eagerly digging into their plates.
Children were also able to exercise their creativity with a variety of different projects at the craft table and there were even raffle baskets up for grabs, all of which were put together by each grade level as a method of fundraising.
“We like having family things at least once a month,” J.G. Johnson Principal Debbie Carle said as the event ensued, with laughter and cheerful voices filling the venue. “We had a lot of fun decorating last night, as you can see we have several photo areas set up. And the raffle baskets were made to help raise some funding to support incentives for the kids in the classroom, as well as for teacher appreciation.”
Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at email@example.com