Kids plan party for their peers

Published 9:08 pm Wednesday, December 21, 2016

A group of Suffolk kids spent the first day of their Christmas break serving other kids.

The six youngsters — all of whom have met at the Centerbrooke Hampton Inn, where they all have family members who work — decided on doing the party last week. It all came together very quickly, with the help of the hotel management.

“I just want to help other people out instead of just being selfish,” said Amarion McDowell, 10, one of the kids who came up with the idea.

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Amarion and his friends — Landon Towns, Elijah Towns, Trinity Battle, Katelynn Hyman and Treazure Freeman — threw the party in a conference room at the hotel on Wednesday. More than two dozen other kids, invited by hotel sales manager Sherrie McDowell with recommendations by Social Services, came to enjoy the festivities.

“I like to meet new friends,” Treazure said in between serving food.

“I wanted to do this because I thought it was a great idea,” said Katelynn Hyman. “I just thought it was a great idea to do this.”

McDowell said she approached her managers after the kids came up with the idea. General Manager Sabrina Freeman agreed to donate the conference room, which normally rents for $400.

McDowell sought donations from area businesses. Subway and Little Caesar’s donated food and drinks. Kroger donated cupcakes. Auto dealership owner Mike Duman donated puzzles and candy, and a local dentist donated toothbrushes and toothpaste. Even a hotel guest, Sara Johnson, of Tennessee, made a donation after learning of the effort.

The kids attending were treated to the food, a hot chocolate bar with a variety of toppings, a visit with Santa Claus and a stocking filled with gifts and treats.

Pastor Andrew Logue Sr. of Suffolk Bible Baptist Church, which meets at the hotel, came to the party to read the story of the first Christmas and also brought gifts.

“Everybody was willing to help us out,” McDowell said, even though it was all being done at the last minute.

At the party, the hosts and hostesses served food and enjoyed socializing with their guests. They sat together, talked and sipped hot chocolate together.

Elijah Towns said he enjoyed doing the party “to make them happy.”