PATERSON, NJ - While Santa and Mrs. Claus' may have been the marquee names participating in the day's activites, it might have been the Grinch who, despite previous, well-documented efforts to steal the holiday, brought the most smiles to the children's faces at the 4CS of Passaic County Toy Drive.
The annual event, held on December 14, helped fill the Paterson Museum, and adjacent 4CS offices, with good cheer and warmth, all aimed towards making Christmas even more for the local families that recieve available, accessible, and affordable childcare through the non-profit organization.
In addition to the 4CS staff showing they were full of the holiday spirit as they presented gifts and ushered families in and out of a meticulously decorated winter wonderland were a number of volunteers including Tomasz Labuda, representing M&T Bank, one of the sponsors that made the day possible.
Back for a second year, Labuda, who last year said that said that while assisting with financial needs is the bank's mission they also encourage its employees to volunteer with the non-profits they serve, added that he couldn't think of a better organization with which to spend his time helpin others.
More than 200 children were to come through the doors on the day, but it was perhaps the exhanges between the 4CS team and five-year-old Zahamira that best exemplied the love and compassion with which the team goes about their work.
While Zahamira lost her mother to an illness just months previous, the day, puncutated by a celebration of her recent birthday, was nothing but joyous. "Mr. Grinch was trying to get my toys," she told TAPinto Paterson with all of the innocence of a child her age. "I'm always good for Santa," she added.
As the little girl expressed her love for Christmas her Aunt Amarilis, now caring for her, stood by with both a smile and some tears saying "I imagine this is what my sister would want."
For incoming Board President Charles Walter the day's festivities exemplified exactly what 4CS is about, and why he got involved intially.
"The mission is phenominal," he said, offering that everyone on the team is "fantastic."
However, he concluded, for 4CS it's not just what they do that makes them special, it's the fact that "they think about people."