The first event the GWDC sponsored was the Woodhaven Winnings Charity Fundraiser on December 7. It was a great success.
Guests arrived at Woodhaven Manor and were greeted by Santa, who gave them a holiday envelope with a surprise gift certificate inside. All ticket holders won something donated by our Jamaica Avenue stores and businesses.
Then guests got a chance to spin a wheel to win additional prizes. Every time Santa rang his bells, it was time for another prize to be won.
As a special surprise, a little elf (my 6'4” son!) took pictures with Santa and guests. Thanks for being a good sport Nick!
And it would not have been such a great success without all the generous participants, so for that I would thank them.
Sponsors included Healthmax Pharmacy, Avenue Diner, Sal's Pizzeria, Benny's Haircut, Manor Deli, Bagel Bin, Paneorama Bakery, Ohlert Ruggiere, Spirare Cleaners, Liberty Plumbing, Pan Ugo Bakery, Thrifty Store, Pop's Restaurant, Kew Gifts, U-Me Sushi, M and M Housewares, and Richhaven Liquors.
This list goes on with Schmidt's Candy, Beat the Clock Printing, Guadalupana Deli and Grocery, La Nostra Pizzeria, Sam's Grill, Sam's 80th Street Deli, 85th Deli, Bravo Supermarket, Prime Jewelers, Skip the Trip DMV, Double Happy, Castle Shoes, Hardware City, Park Place Flowers, James Rooney and Mathew Rooney Law Offices, Allstate Insurance, Scaturros Supermarket, Evan David Opticians, Walker Funeral Home, Dexter Wines and Spirits and Guzman Lawyers all contributing.
In addition to the sponsors, I would like to say thanks to GWDC president Steve Esposito and staff members Maureen, Deb, Krys, and Lina that worked hard to make this event happen.
Also, thanks to Woodhaven Manor for supplying the venue, Ed and Josephine Wendell for supplying the music, Bob Thomson for supplying rides back and forth, Diane Finch for volunteering her time to solicit and collect the gift certificates and donations, and the community of Woodhaven for always coming out and supporting our events.
I already have ideas for next year's event as it was so much fun. Now we will buy toys and food baskets for the needy from these proceeds; more on that in my next article.
The next event was the annual Tree and Menorah Lighting Ceremony at Forest Parkway Plaza. This is always a favorite of mine.
Although not a GWDC event, it is run by the Woodhaven Business Improvement District, we were and still are a big part of it.
The ROTC started off the evening and did a great job as usual. The Menorah was lit by Arlene, a neighborhood resident and GWDC Board Member.
As the children waited in anticipation, Frosty, Rudolph, Santa and Mrs. Claus made their way to the tree. The countdown began and Santa lit the tree. Afterwards the children lined up to take pictures with Santa and Mrs. Claus.
The kids all received Santa hats and cookie bags, courtesy of the Woodhaven Business Improvement District. Raquel Olivares, the new Executive Director for the WBID, did a fantastic job.
And the holiday events don't end there. This Saturday, December 15, from 1 to 3 p.m., the GWDC will host free pictures with Santa, Frosty and Rudolph in Forest Parkway Plaza by the big tree. They will also receive a goodie bag from Santa himself.
We hope if you could not attend the other events, that this weekend you can come and visit Santa and his friends. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all until we meet again in January.