SPENCERVILLE — Three-year-old Tyson Hoffer climbed onto a massive pile of stuffed animals and pulled away a stuffed Elmo and displayed a huge smile.
Such was the effect on all 123 children who were treated to all kinds of treats and gifts Sunday at the 34th annual underprivileged children Christmas Party sponsored by the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6772 Clown Unit in Spencerville.
Past All American Commander George Cox said the clown unit likes to just spread a little Christmas cheer every year, and sponsors from the area are always willing to help.
“In the last week of October, we send a letter out to the different agencies,” Cox said. “We get children coming from the Crossroads Crisis Center, the Samaritan House, Allen County Children’s Services, Van Wert County Children’s Services, Putnam County Children Services and many other children. They send us lists of underprivileged kids and give us clothes sizes, a toy they may want, and if it is a boy or a girl.”
Cox said they then send the information to one of its many sponsors and they donate the items asked for. The clown unit purchases food to treat the children and the meal includes child favorites such as hot dogs, pizza, potato chips, pretzels and cookies. The children enjoyed their meals but forgot all about their lunch as Santa made his triumphant entry into the building as the children sang “Jingle Bells.”
“We try to have food the children like,” Cox said. “We want it to be as fun for the kids as possible. It is all about giving the kids a good time.”
Cox said a little girl who came to the party many years ago likely put it best. A little girl who has since grown sat on Santa’s lap. When he asked her what she wanted, she replied, “I just want all little children to have a nice Christmas like I am having.”
“We will never forget a speechless Santa and his helper as a tear rolled down their faces,” Cox said.
While visiting Santa, the children were treated to a new book and a candy cane.
Cox said a lot of work went into the party and a lot of volunteers offered to help. He also said the party would not be possible if it wasn’t for the many sponsors that provide gifts for the children.
With this year’s total, Cox said the party has helped take care of more than 4,800 children during the holidays.