By Sharon Glick
With the holiday spirit pervading the halls of South, students organized the annual Lunch with Santa charity event on Monday, Dec. 19. From periods four to seven, students received a home-cooked, Italian-style meal in the auditorium for $10, complete with Santa Claus and holiday decorations. This year, the proceeds were donated to Christopher Otley’s Family Services, a foster home for children, some with mental handicaps. The event raised over $2,000, and the proceeds were used to buy gifts for the children.
Participants in the event believed the experience was well worth the price. “It was a great opportunity to have fun while raising money for a relevant, worthwhile cause,” said sophomore Caroline Weinberg.
Sophomore Evangeline Giannopoulos echoed Weinberg’s sentiment. She said, “Everyone looked like they were having a great time. Santa was really funny and entertaining. All around, it was a great atmosphere and the food was really good too!”
Senior Chris Rocco, one of the main coordinators of the event, said that the student organizers received only positive feedback this year and everyone seemed very pleased with the fundraiser.
Rocco played a vital role in the production of Lunch with Santa this year. He organized the food, sold many of the tickets, handled the front door during the actual event, and helped decorate the stage. Overall, he made sure everything ran smoothly and that all participants enjoyed themselves at the lunch.
In addition, Rocco, along with several others, helped to make Lunch with Santa actually happen this year. Initially the event was discontinued; however, several clubs and teachers, including social studies teachers Mr. Dennis Mooney and Ms. Michelle Sorise, technology teacher Mr. Michael Passuello, and Mrs. Rosemarie Rocco (Chris’ mom), revived the event.
After the event, Rocco, along with seniors Michael Spinello and Casey Mangin, junior Evan R., and Mr. Passuello, spent over two days buying over 75 presents for the foster children.
Among these purchases was an xbox 360 with kinect, which will help the children with mental disabilities advance in their motor and learning skills. Spinello, Mangin, Rocco, and his mother wrapped all 75 gifts afterwards; the student collaborators then hand-delivered them to the foster home, where they also spent some time playing with the children.
Rocco said, “Seeing the look on their faces when we walked in with presents was amazing. And it was even greater when they opened them. I’m very happy we brought it back.”
Overall, Rocco concluded that the event was a success. “It went well considering the time we had to plan as well as all the participation we got from all the different school organizations.” He went on to say, “I hope the tradition lives on next year and years to follow.”