Santa brings Christmas cheer to Caribbean kids

Sydney Sharpe who lives in Crown Heights with her Trinidadian mom, sits on Santa’s lap, as she receives her Christmas gift.
Photo by Nelson A. King

Santa Claus brought an early Christmas Sunday night to more than 200 Caribbean children in Brooklyn at the 12th Annual Christmas Party organized by the Brooklyn-based Standard Shippers and Friends at the Friends of Crown Heights Educational Center, on Logan Street, in East New York, Brooklyn.

Vincentian community activist Garnes Byron, who acted as Santa Claus, invigorated the kids, whose ages ranged from a few months to 12 years, bringing them much cheer and gifts at the packed event.

“It was a pleasure playing Santa Claus for the sixth year for Standard Shippers and Friends’ Annual Children’s Christmas Party,” Byron told Caribbean Life afterwards. “The joy of seeing the kids’ faces light up, when I entered the room, is enough to have me coming back year after year.

“My job as Santa is to bring joy to the kids by giving them gifts,” he added. “I also enjoy hearing what some of the kids have on their wish list for Christmas.”

Atiba Williams, another Vincentian community activist, who has been coordinating the event for the last nine years, said he was also delighted to see “the joy on the kids’ faces.

“I look forward to doing this,” he said, adding that the kids and toddlers, accompanied by their parents, other relatives and guardians, besides receiving gifts from Santa, played games, indulged in arts and crafts, and had snacks and refreshments.

Williams said kids and toddlers from a wide cross section of the Caribbean community were represented.

“It was not just Vincentian kids,” he stressed. “We had different nationalities, including Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada and St. Lucia.

“We’re open to everyone,” he added. “Once the kids register, they receive a gift from Santa.”

Marcus and Bernadette Tucker brought along, for the very first time, their two kids, Samantha, and Meagan, as well as Bernadette’s mother, Albertha John.

“I think it’s a very positive thing,” Mr. Tucker told Caribbean Life. “I’ve been a very good supporter of Standard Shippers. This is nothing for me to support.”

“It’s really good for the children,” Mrs. Tucker chimed in. “It’s really a joyous event. At Christmas time, all the kids are looking forward for gifts.

“It’s the first time we’re coming, and the kids love it,” she added. “The adults are also having fun.”

Williams lauded a number of participating organizations and individuals for contributing to the event’s success, including the management and staff of Standard Shippers; Vaughn Toney, president and chief executive officer of Friends of Crown Heights Educational Center; Vincy Liberators; K Promotions; Humble Empress Promotions; Mas Productions Unlimited; and Sheffield Crew.

Others he thanked were: Shernz Kitchen; DJ Gerald; Ruth Wilson; David “Zacky” Jack; and Nollie Abedine Walkin.

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