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Bringing toys and smiles, Jaycees-style

Foster children from around Butler County received a grand treat on Thursday, Dec. 20, when they were the recipients of a special Christmas gift, compliments of the Greenville Jaycees.

The children, ranging from tots to teens, began streaming into the Greenville Area YMCA around 3:30 p.m., where they found plenty of pizza pies, cold drinks and sweet desserts available in abundant supply.

The 28 children and their families were special guests of honor, through the cooperative efforts of the Jaycees and the Butler County Department of Human Resources (DHR).

The special occasion was the annual Jaycees' Foster Children’s Christmas Party.

Susan Sorrells and the DHR staff, along with Jaycees President Eric Fennell and several other Jaycees club members hosted the event.

While food was delicious and plentiful, everyone was eagerly awaiting the jolly fat man’s arrival. By 4:30 p.m. the elf in his familiar red suit and cap appeared, and with some hearty &uot;Ho, ho, ho's&uot; Santa brought smiles to all of the youngsters and oldsters present.

The children each received a special stocking from Saint Nick (fully loaded with fun stuff, of course).

Santa Claus, so popular and oh so busy, was soon forced to say an early ‘adieu’ to the friends he knew so well, as he dashed off to avert another potential elf crisis.

Capable Jaycees, however present for at the party played "Santa," and with assistance from the ladies of DHR began delivering huge bags full of toys, games and clothing to the youngsters.

Both squeals of delight and speechless excitement reigned over the festivities as basketballs, tricycles, bikes, doll houses, Easy-bake ovens and those perennial favorites, the little red ‘Radio Flyers’ and soft, cuddly teddy bears appeared amidst the sea of colorful holiday wrapping paper.

The hard-working foster parents were not left out of the festivities, either. Each foster family in attendance received a large holiday ham as a &uot;Thank you&uot; from DHR.

The event closed out with an audience-wide rendition of &uot;Joy to the World&uot; and a very spirited &uot;We Wish You a Merry Christmas&uot;.

Appreciative applause sounded for the Jaycees and their efforts to bring Christmas cheer to these children.

Fundraisers such as the recent Christmas dance, and annual golf tournaments are held by the Jaycees to collect money to purchase the children’s gifts each year.

&uot;We have 10 or 12 less kids on our list this year than previously, but that’s actually good since it means there are actually less children in need of foster care here in Butler County,&uot; said Eric Fennell. &uot;It's a really good feeling to be able to help out whenever and however we can.&uot;