Scenes from Lowell: Community Christmas Parties Edition

Santa himself was on-hand for the Gilda's Club party.

With it being a little more than a week away from Christmas, the holiday season is kicking into high gear. Two local non-profits held their Christmas parties this past week, and a good time was had by all. Take a look.

First, on Tuesday, Gilda’s Club held their Christmas party. The club offers free support services to those facing a cancer diagnosis or grieving the loss of a loved one. Members, their friends and family were all invited to come together for a bright evening of fun in what otherwise might be a dark period of life.

The Franciscan Life Process Center donated the venue, and Don Kurylowicz, who owns the Grist Mill and Honey Creek Inn in Cannonsburg, donated the food. Plus, there were homemade cookies of every kind baked and donated by volunteers.

In addition to the usual punch and water, the party featured a hot cocoa bar that was a hit among guests of all ages.

Younger visitors were invited to head back to the craft table to make chocolate spoons, decorate paper gingerbread people ornaments and create “Santa watchers” (aka Santa binoculars).

After dinner, the big man himself showed up and visited with all the kids in attendance. After seeing Santa, children were invited to head over to the gift table where they loaded up on presents donated to the event. There were books, blankets, stuffed animals, wooden toys and so much more.

Children weren’t the only ones treated to a gift at the party either. Adults were entered into a raffle, and everyone walked away with at least one prize or centerpiece from a table.

Teresa Beachum and Ethel Stears of Pink Arrow Pride listen as Gilda Club’s Wendy Wigger thanks the community for its gift.

Teresa Beachum and Ethel Stears of Pink Arrow Pride were handing out gifts at the party too. They stopped by to present Gilda’s Club president Wendy Wigger with a $72,000 check for the Lowell clubhouse. It was part of the money raised and distributed thanks to Pink Arrow XI.

That wasn’t the only gift for Gilda’s Club either. At Murray Lake Elementary School, four teachers participated in No-Shave November, and students at the school raised $674 which was presented to Gilda’s Club to support Lowell programs.

The party brought together people who come from various walks of life but share a similar challenge. The music, food and gifts won’t erase the pain of their circumstances, but organizers hope it offered a brief reprieve.

It was an evening that couldn’t happen without the help of committed volunteers, both young and old. Thank you all!



Photo courtesy of Senior Neighbors.

Then, on Friday, it was time for Santa to pay a visit to Senior Neighbors for their annual Christmas party.

Photo courtesy of Senior Neighbors.

Terra Bieneman is the Senior Neighbors Coordinator who helped make it all happen. In the midst of the festivities, she paused for a minute to get a photo with the man in red.

Photo courtesy of Senior Neighbors.

Santa was making a list and checking it twice. He was going to find out who’s been naughty and nice.

Photo courtesy of Senior Neighbors.

Of course, it goes without saying, that the members of Senior Neighbors are all nice. MaeDean Alexander is one of them and shown here with Santa.

Photo courtesy of Unity Alternative High School. 

Then some special guests stopped by. They were students from Unity Alternative High School.

Photo courtesy of Unity Alternative High School.

The seniors and the students settled in for a few rounds of Bingo.

Photo courtesy of Unity Alternative High School.

The competition was intense at times, but in the end, everyone was smiles.

Photo courtesy of Senior Neighbors.

Thank you Senior Neighbors for a fun afternoon of Christmas cheer!

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