More than 500 children and their families were treated to a holiday party on Christmas eve thanks to Council Member Andy King and his wife Neva Shillingford King and the Bronx Youth Empowerment Program (YEP), which hosted the event.
“Reaching out to our local families in need, and bringing fun and excitement to the children, is just another way to say ‘we care about you,’ said Council Member King of the “Sharing is Caring” holiday event. “One of the greatest things you can do for the holidays is share.”
Council Member King and his wife, the co-founders of Bronx YEP, began hosting the holiday meal and gift-giving event 10 years ago. The couple opened their Bronx home to neighborhood children from youth programs, nearby NYCHA developments and throughout the Northeast community. In 2013, the King family and Bronx YEP moved the festive “Sharing is Caring” holiday affair to a larger space, the Eastwood Manor, to accommodate 200 children and parents.
This year, more than 500 youngsters, from infants to 18 year olds, met costume characters Batman, Captain America, Iron Man, Mr. Met, the Major League Baseball mascot for the NY Mets and Santa Claus. They also enjoyed games, face-painting, dancing by I RAISE GIRLS and BOYS, singing by 12-year-old Jamiah Roper, a DJ and a hot buffet lunch. To top it off, each child was able to choose more than one toy or game to take home.
“Giving is what it’s all about as well as building mind, body and community,” said Council Member King.
For the 2015 “Sharing is Caring” event, a number of local merchants and community-based organizations donated toys and goods. Sponsors included Workmen Circle MultiCare Center, Major League Baseball, Toys R Us, HomeBase, Urban Justice, union locals 420, 371, CareRide, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., Teddy Nissan, the Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Amalgamated Bank, MetroPlus, Bronx Community Health Network, DJ Danny and the NYPD.
Above - A group photo of all that helped make this event a huge success. Santa had to sit down after all the hard work.
Below - Mr. Met was on hand to help Councilman King and his wife Neva.
Another photo, this time with Mr. Met and some Super Heroes, but the Bronx YEP volunteers were the Super Heroes here.