Santa arrives at Obici

Published 10:32 pm Thursday, December 2, 2010

Authenic Smallwood, 3, gives Santa Claus his Christmas list at the Sentara Obici Hospital Auxiliary tree lighting Thursday.

The signs of Christmas were all around the atrium of Sentara Obici Hospital Thursday evening.

The King’s Fork Middle School Chorus sang Christmas carols from the hospital’s main staircase. The crowd in the building’s main lobby feasted on festive cookies and cider. Even Santa Claus was in attendance, listening to children’s wishes and handing out candy from his place beside a Christmas tree laden with blue and silver decorations.

The hospital’s volunteer auxiliary put on the event, which serves as one of its fundraisers throughout the year.

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“We love it,” said Debbie Williams, the volunteer resources coordinator at the hospital. “It’s become a tradition.”

After the program, which featured the lighting of the tree and musical entertainment from the King’s Fork students, young children watched as Santa Claus arrived on the second floor of the atrium and made his way downstairs to where the children were waiting.

Sania Pitts, 7, was one of the first children to visit Santa at the event. She told him she wanted a “DSi XL,” a handheld game system made by Nintendo.

The tree featured ornaments sponsored by community members, some in honor of or in memory of loved ones. Each ornament had a small tag attached with the names of the honorees.

The money raised benefits the community outreach program, which assists people with diabetes and heart problems who do not have insurance. Volunteers take patients to the grocery store and teach them how to buy healthy food, Williams said, and generally are a support group for the patients.