Committee shares the holiday spirit

PRESENTATION — The Follansbee Christmas in the Park committee, during Monday’s Follansbee Council meeting, presented checks to the Anderson Children’s Home, the Follansbee R.E.A.C.H. Program and the family of James Siudak, a local boy with special medical needs. The money, $2,600 for each, was raised during the two-day festival held in October. On hand for the presentation were, front, from left, Eddie Wilkerson of Follansbee R.E.A.C.H; Eberle Williams, Anderson’s Children’s Home; and James Siudak: and back, Christmas in the Park committee members Betty Anne Shaffer, Dana Durban-Griffin and Stacey Williams and committee Co-Chairs Billy Secrist and Kathy Santoro. -- Contributed

FOLLANSBEE — Members of the Follansbee Christmas in the Park committee showed they have the holiday spirit once again by donating $7,800 to local charities during Monday’s City Council meeting.

For the past 16 years, the committee has been hosting Christmas in the Park to raise money for the Anderson Children’s Home, a home to children with severe mental and physical impairments, the Follansbee R.E.A.C.H. Program, a local food pantry, and an area child with special medical needs.

Three checks in the amount of $2,600 each were awarded this year to the two organizations and the family of James Siudak, a third-grader suffering from type 1 diabetes.

Kathy Santoro, co-chair of the Christmas in the Park committee, and 3rd Ward councilwoman, described the feeling of giving as “amazing.”

“You meet these kids after hearing about their conditions, and they are just so sweet,” said Santoro. “They are great.”

Santoro said the festival and donations are made possible by a committee of 10 people and Co-Chair Bill Secrist.

“I wouldn’t trade them in for a million dollars,” she added.

The committee raises the money for the charities from donations, drawing tickets and vendors’ booths fees from the yearly festival held the second week of October at the city park.

Fortunately, a grant through the state pays for all the costs of the event, allowing the committee to donate all earnings, according to Santoro.

The committee already has started planning for next year’s festival.

“This year we had over 100 vendors,” said Santoro. “Right now, we already have 30 for Christmas in the Park 2019.”

In other matters during the council meeting:

¯ The board voted to pass the “brunch bill,” which, if goes as planned, will allow restaurants, bars and private clubs to serve alcohol at 10 a.m. daily. This bill was rejected back in August, but was revisited due to the request of several local business owners during the Oct. 1 meeting. A lawyer will be hired to help amend the Home Rule program to pass the ordinance.