New cars, trucks, dolls, games, a bubble gum machine and electronic equipment were among the 500 gifts distributed to Opa-locka children, ages 3-13, at the 11th Annual Holiday in the Village: Winter Wonderland Toy Give-Away hosted by Commissioner Dorothy “Dottie” Johnson, Commissioner Luis B. Santiago, Vice Mayor Joseph L. Kelley and sponsored by The Mayor and Commission in partnership with the Parks and Recreations Department at Sherbondy Village, 215 Perviz Avenue, Opa-locka, Florida 33054 on Saturday, December 15, 2012 from 2:00 PM – 5:30 PM.
Upon arriving at the toy give-away, City of Opa-locka citizens who pre-registered several days in advance, showing proof of residency, were guaranteed gifts for their children.
However, due to the unyielding generosity of the Commission, various corporate sponsors and generous humanitarians who just wanted to contribute, an on-sight registration provided presents for a record number of community children who did not complete the registration process and appeared on the day of the event, hoping there would be enough toys for them to receive something; and they too, got their Christmas wishes fulfilled.
Holiday in the Village: Winter Wonderland was not just a children’s event. ALL City of Opa-locka family members were invited to participate and enjoy the music, activities, food, fun, other forms of excitement and entertainment during the affair. Parents had the opportunity to take-part in a raffle where winners walked away with a wall clock, sandwich maker, dishes, cups, pot and knife sets, cash cards and other major prizes. Marolyn O’Neal immediately telephoned a friend to reveal that she KNEW the raffle wasn’t “rigged” when she won one of the most sought-after prizes, a 32” HD television. Edwardo Nieves, Kimberlee Downer and Tykeise O’Neal won three of the eight bicycles in the drawing and other winners in the Sherbondy auditorium could be heard screaming at the top of their lungs each time the last of the six digit number announced, matched their ticket.
More shouting traveled through “the village” park as children took pleasure in rock climbing, the bounce houses and JUST being kids! The community-familyfriendly environment provided for a day of celebratory activities and fulfilled dreams which brought joy to many City of Opa-locka families. Santa Claus (played by Commissioner Timothy Holmes and understudy Jamar Myers) and his hardest working elf (Anthony Arnold) stopped-in to pose for souvenir photos with the families. Seniors in the City were also remembered with specially wrapped presents and gift bags during this festive occasion. Overall, officials, management and staff were pleased to see everyone leaving the 11th Annual “Holiday in the Park” with a little something special for Christmas, from “The Great” City of Opa-locka. According to Commissioner Johnson, “Giving back to the Community is the way we honor the real ‘Reason for the Season,’ during this FREE event. “But,” Commissioner Johnson continued, “…in spite of all the symbolic gestures, decorations and presents that may or may not last until next year, it is important for families to understand and educate our children about the biggest, most perfect AND permanent gift that was wrapped and presented to us ALL in a manger over two thousand years ago; the everlasting gift of love… Merry Christmas from the City of Opa-locka!”