Community sponsors kids for Christmas

Published 10:00 pm Tuesday, December 6, 2016

The community has come together to help sponsor children who live at a local hotel for Christmas.

The Studios and Suites 4 Less complex will have its Christmas party in a few weeks. The idea began last year after Maria Scott, the property manager, wanted to follow in her father’s footsteps by giving back to the community. Around Thanksgiving time, Ray Patel, Scott’s father, gives away about 500 turkeys to the less fortunate.

Scott was inspired to give back to her complex.

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“I saw a need because a lot of kids live here,” Scott said. “I wanted to take some of the load off the mothers and fathers that live here.”

Scott said more than 50 families, including more than 45 kids, live at the extended-stay hotel.

“A lot of the kids have nothing at all,” Scott said.

Scott and a few others spread the word about the party on a Western Branch community Facebook page and requested community support. Within a few weeks, all 47 of the hotel’s children had been sponsored by members in the community who would donate gifts.

Last year, gifts included toys, baby dolls, winter clothes and board games, according to Scott.

There were also those who agreed to provide home-cooked meals for the party.

Additionally, Corner Cafe, Zero’s, Chick-fil-A and other local restaurants will donate meals for the party.

The hotel administration now wants to take it a step further and sponsor 100 kids in the Hampton Roads community. In all, 53 kids and 18 families have been sponsored, according to Scott.

During last year’s Christmas party, Santa went door-to-door and delivered the gifts. Scott recalled the children’s excitement.

“They were screaming,” she said. “It brings a lot of joy to see them happy.”

The parents were “really grateful and thankful for it,” Scott said.

On site, a local Girl Scout troop will lead arts and crafts. There will also be a DJ, games and a barber who will give free haircuts.

The party will take place from 4 to 6 p.m. Dec. 18 at the hotel, located at 2424 Gum Road, and is open to the public.

The complex is still looking for sponsors to reach its goal of 100 sponsored children. To serve as a sponsor or for additional inquiries, contact Scott at 448-5571.