2011 Christmas Party
    Almost C$ 3,800 in donations from across Canada and the US made it possible to buy each of the 230 kids who attend the Volcanes Primary School a Christmas present. We were also able to purchase another 50 smaller toys for their little brothers and sisters who watched the Christmas party from outside the school grounds with their mothers.
    The Christmas Party was held Wednesday December 14 from 10am to 1:00pm at the Volcanes school. The principal had arranged for a large concrete play area in front of the school to be covered with tables and chairs for the kids, several tables at the front were covered with the 280 or so toys we had purchased, and several covered tables for the volunteers not used to the heat and harsh sunlight had been placed in a shaded area behind the toys. As well the school children had worked very hard over several days to create a Manger Scene for the Volunteers in thanks for our help.

Bringing the Party to the School
Party Day -  Pick up the Cakes at the Sorianna Superstore
    Because of it's remote location and the road conditions, Volunteers from all across the city wanting to help out at the Christmas party arrived by car, bus or by taxi at the Pitillal Sorianna store on Franscico Villa. 
    This was while Art's van was delivering another group of Volunteers and all of the purchased toys to the School. While waiting to be picked up by Art's van, Volunteers went into the Sorianna store to:
  • Arrange for the pick-up of two huge Christmas Cakes for the Party.
  • Buy the Ice Cream and place the 10 containers in large tubs covered in ice to keep it from melting.
  • Load the Cakes and Ice Cream into the awaiting vehicles which followed each other to Christmas Party.
    Many of the Volunteers had never seen the school or the poverty surrounding it. It is in stark contrast to the feeling of hope you feel when you see what is being done for these kids. The parents of Volcanes know that this school may be their children's only hope of getting out of their cycle of poverty.

The Families of Volcanes Children Came to Support 
Happy Mothers of the School kids push the Volunteers aside and start carting the Party Supplies Into the School.
When our vanload of Volunteers arrived at the school, we were greeted by the grounds of the school having been decorated with balloons and ribbons by the kids themselves. We were also met by many of the children's mothers who had worked hard that morning placing all the tables and chairs, putting tablecloths, as well as arranging plastic plates and cutlery for the all 230 students at the school.
    Although not allowed to attend the Party, these women grabbed the heavy cakes, ice cream and all the other heavy items we had brought. They wanted to thank us for what were were doing for their kids and they wanted us to save our energy for the party itself. It was very moving.

Food, Beverages and Fun for the Kids and Volunteers
    Almost twenty Volunteers made up our little group and for almost 4 hours, it was non-stop activity to get this party going. The Volunteers  did everything including:
  • Handed out Toy Draw raffle tickets to each of the 230 Kids. 
  • Then gave each of the kids a "Burger King" burger and an order of fries.
  • Were quickly followed by other Volunteers with cold drinks for all the kids.
  • Began to cut up the two huge Christmas Cakes as the kids ate their burger & fries.
  • Scooped out Ice Cream for each slice of Christmas Cake.
  • Then delivered the Cake and Ice Cream to all the 230 kids.
  • Gave extra Burgers, Fries Cake & Ice Cream to the on-looking mothers and smaller siblings.
  • Passed among the kids with garbage bags to collect all the remnants of the kids meals.

Then Finally the Kids Got Their Toys
    Needless to say our little group of Volunteers was a bit frazzled by then but the most exciting part of the party was to come. The kids had been looking and hoping for a chance at getting to choose a present for Christmas. But we couldn't allow 230 kids at one time at the mountain of toys at the front. We wanted each child to have a chance at getting the toy they wanted while keeping it fair. The Raffle Tickets we gave out had numbers ending from 1 to 12. 
    This allowed us to:
  • Select numbers from 1 to 12 allowing those with the right numbers at that time to pick their presents.
  • Make certain that only a small portion of each grade or class could pick at any one time.
  • Limit the number of kids choosing their Toy to about 20 at one time. 
  • Pick seven children at random to receive one of two bikes or five I-Pods music players.
  • Give the assemble family members outside the school gate some of the extra toys.

    By the end of the party, the kids had all chosen their own special Christmas Toy and 7 of the kids had won one of the seven Grand Prizes. The joy on the faces of these 230 kids, the laughing and pleasure they felt was immediately felt by the volunteers. 
    I think I speak for all of the Volunteers when I say it was a privilege to have been part of this endeavor of bringing some Christmas joy to the lives of these special children. Each of the Volunteers was touched by a child's reaction, smile, or affection and it was because of the people who donated that we were able to be part of it.

    I thank you on behalf of the boys and girls of the Volcanes School.

2011 Volcanes School Christmas - Lots of Pictures