By ELISE McKEOWN SKOLNICK
Santa Claus came to town a couple days early to have lunch with children at the Central YMCA. Children from the community, Beatitude House and the Davis Family YMCA day camp in Boardman participated in the YMCA’s 82nd annual Lunch with Santa Dec. 23.
Each child had a chance to sit on Santa’s lap and tell him what they wanted for Christmas. They also received a gift that day.
Swim team members collect the toys, said Tara Deagan, organizer. The Y provides more, if needed.
The children also enjoyed lunch donated by the MVR, Chick-Fil-A and Pizza Joe’s. The Youngstown Connection provided music.
“There are a lot of kids in this area who don’t get a lot, so it’s kind of our way of making sure everyone has that experience,” Deagan said.
Members of the Y’s Youth Leadership group volunteered at the event.
“We’re here to help out with anything that’s needed,” said Dante’sha Nutter. “So we’re just helping with the little kids and helping with Santa.”
It’s a wonderful event, said Nadia Lomax, another member of the leadership group.
“It gives back to the community a lot, and it helps out a lot of people,” she added.
They sat with Madeline Packo of Youngstown. Packo enjoyed talking with Santa, but kept her Christmas wish a secret from others.
Norah Bush of Poland told Santa she wanted a robotic dog for Christmas. Her friend, Zoe Timms of Canfield, asked for an iPad.
The girls tore the paper of the gifts Santa gave them at the lunch. Bush received a sketch portfolio and Timms an art package that will allow her to stencil on clothes.
Nearly 100 children attended the event.