The COVID-19 crisis made it impossible for us to hold many of our scheduled sprees in 2020. However, our Board of Directors has developed a variety of virtual platform models that have enabled us to support children in need during the 2020 holiday season and we will continue to do so in 2021.
Our goal remains the same, whether in person or virtual: to create as many fun and memorable events as we can for children who would not normally have this opportunity.
Sunday, December 13, 2020 – Twelve (12) children from the Milltown, NJ school district, community volunteers and Santa participated in a Virtual Holiday Shopping Spree via Zoom videoconference. The children shopped on Target.com with a volunteer, purchasing toys with gift cards provided by Make A Smile. Board member Glenn Garlatti was the spree coordinator of this very successful event. Thank you Glenn and all of the wonderful volunteers!
Sunday, December 13, 2020 – Twenty-two (22) children from P.S. 121 in Queens, NY joined volunteers via Zoom to shop for clothes. The children joined from their homes while volunteers from Target and the New York State Society of Enrolled Agents (“NYSSEA”) shopped in the Target store on Queens Blvd. in Elmhurst, NY. The merchandise was paid for by the volunteers, with gift cards provided by Make A Smile. Special thanks to Coordinator Koreen Jervis, Queens Blvd. Target store and all of the amazing volunteers!
Monday, December 14, 2020 – Laurie Kaminsky, Make A Smile Coordinator and Dr. Rocco Tomazic, Superintendent of Borough of Freehold Public Schools, brought holiday joy into the lives of children in need in that district. “Santa” paid a visit to the schools and dropped off wrapped toys and Target gift cards to the school administrators, to be given to the children. He posed for photos with the principals and school mascots and brought cheer to all. Many thanks to Laurie and Rocco, as well as Principals Will Smith and Patrick Mulhern. Special shout out to Rick Kaminsky (aka “Santa”). Awesome job!
In December, 2020, Coordinators Catherine del Rey and Dennis Kolodin teamed up with the Phoenix Schools to sponsor a family in dire need. They also purchased and donated toys to the school’s toy drive, which were collected and distributed with the help of volunteer Dawn Baumgartner. Hopefully next year we can look forward to an in-store holiday spree. As always, heartfelt thanks to Catherine and Dennis for their wonderful work!
Monday, January 18, 2021 – Twenty-one (21) children from Robin’s Nest Early Learning Center in Philadelphia shopped for clothes and toys from the school via Zoom videoconference meetings. Volunteers led by Jean Lu and Rob Sannelli of Vanguard assisted the children on Target.com, with gift cards provided by Make A Smile. Thanks to Aaliyah McCullough and staff at Robin’s Nest and all of the Vanguard volunteers. Thank you so much to Jean and Rob for the incredible job they did!