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Parrish party brings an early Christmas

PARRISH -- As joyous as the holiday season can be for some families, it can be a financial burden.

Ana Covarrubias’ husband recently lost his job, but thanks to the Parrish Children’s Christmas Party at the Parrish YMCA on Thursday night, they can provide their children with toys for Christmas without breaking the bank.

“It’s a big help,” she said. “It was a lot of fun. We’re going to give them one gift now and save the rest for Christmas.”

Her children weren’t alone.

This year the YMCA helped ensure 134 children in ZIP code 34219 will get Christmas gifts.

“We prefer to help families that are economically challenged,” said Iris McClain, adding all the families who attend are always grateful for the help.

The gifts were donations by members of the community and delivered to the children after they got to sit on Santa Claus’ lap after singing Christmas songs.

“These kids are the best,” Santa said.

For Anthony George, meeting the man in red made him smile.

“I got to meet Santa,” said Anthony, 6. “I like him because he gives me toys.”

He even got his face painted with Santa’s likeness.

Anthony said the football and remote-controlled truck he got were exactly what he wanted for Christmas.

For Anthony’s mom, Sabrina George, the event was a blessing.

“It’s a godsend,” George said.

Delia Soto was thankful, too.

As she stood watching her children look through their bags and place Christmas cookies into their goodie bags she smiled.

“It’s good to see them happy,” Soto said.

Paradise Afshar, Herald reporter, can be contacted at 941-748-0411, ext. 7024.