The spirit of the holidays shone brighter than ever this year as the Riverdale Y and The Neighborhood Association for Inter-Cultural Affairs, Inc. (NAICA) partnered to bring joy and festivity to children and their families living in a local shelter for asylum seekers. This heartwarming collaboration saw an outpouring of generosity from the Riverdale Y community, resulting in an abundance of toys collected for the children.
Volunteers gathered at the Riverdale Y the day before the event to wrap all of the gifts in paper that they brought from home to donate to the project. Their enthusiasm and their laughter made for a festive occasion that created anticipation and excitement for the holiday party the next day.
On the afternoon of the celebration, the Riverdale Y Dining Room was transformed into a winter wonderland. Volunteers set up and decorated a festive space, creating a welcoming and magical atmosphere. Children, with eager anticipation and bright smiles, arrived with their families, ready to embark on an evening filled with fun and celebration.
The evening began with a delicious hot meal with the families sitting together around large round tables – the first sit-down meal that these families had since arriving at the shelter earlier in the year. After the meal, blessings were recited over the Hanukkah candles and guests, both children and adults, took turns to light each one.
Then the children were off to see Santa and Mrs. Claus to receive a toy, patiently waiting in line. The Grinch and the elves made the rounds around the room, helping out wherever and whenever was needed, and providing holiday cheer for everyone.
Everyone contributed to making the event a success, especially our gracious guests who made everything worthwhile. The families were very appreciative of every aspect of the event, making sure to thank the volunteers who worked hard to make it happen.
The partnership between the Riverdale Y and NAICA proved to be a resounding success, bringing warmth and holiday cheer to children facing challenging circumstances. The generosity of the community, the unwavering dedication of volunteers, and the spirit of inclusivity that permeated the event created memories that will be cherished for years to come. We look forward to working together with NAICA in the coming year to get more resources to these families who need them so much.
This collaboration serves as a powerful reminder that the holiday season is a time for unity, compassion, and sharing our blessings. It inspires us to open our hearts and create joy for those in need, allowing the spirit of giving and inclusivity to shine brightly throughout the year.