On Aug. 8, Bradenton Kiwanis sponsored its fifth annual Christmas in August, an event for homeless children in the Manatee County School District. The day offered backpacks, school supplies, gift cards, dental, vision and medical examinations, food and fun, all geared toward helping our community's most vulnerable children get ready to go back to school, and be successful learners.
There was soccer, two Santa Clauses, a Polynesian dance group, and the reigning DeSoto Princess accompanied by her guard of Conquistadors! The children were thrilled and the parents all smiles.
More than 500 children, plus their parents, attended the event at McKechnie Field. It was coordinated by hundreds of volunteers, and greatly enhanced by the presence of community organizations that focus their services and programs on helping children and families.
Turning Points, across the street from McKechnie Field, hosted the medical, dental and vision exams in their fine facilities, with help from LECOM, Manatee Technical College and local dentists and the Vision Foundation. Volunteers came from local schools, Key Clubs, and churches, to work together on this amazing collaboration.
Essential to the success of this event were donations from the community, individuals, organizations and businesses who all came together in one common cause -- helping our children succeed.
The Pirate's staff at McKechnie were wonderful: they worked tirelessly alongside volunteers on Friday and Saturday, as early as 5 am, to coordinate the many different, moving parts of this large event.
On behalf of Bradenton Kiwanis, we would like to thank all those who helped us provide support for our community's children. We also welcome community members to join us, both for next year's Christmas in August and for our programs and services throughout the year. We meet at the Manatee Performing Arts Center on Tuesdays at noon, and we'd love for you to join us.
Ed Nicholas, Club President Karen Carpenter, Chair, 2015 Christmas in August Manatee County