Santa’s sleigh was very full – he had large bags of toys and clothes for 47 preschoolers who were our lunch guests Dec. 6 at the Buck Center in Littleton.
Our club makes this happen each year for children from The Village for Early Childhood Education. After a lunch of hamburgers, hot dogs and red and green cupcakes -- with sprinkles! -- Santa called each child to the stage for a hug and encouragement. Rotarians were Santa’s helpers, handing the oversized gift bags to wide-eyed kids. 
The Village is a unique program of Littleton Public Schools, a nonprofit entity that serves approximately 360 children ages 5 and younger. “A wonderfully diverse group of children make up our student body, and a dedicated staff enjoys every day with them,” said Phyllis Dornseif, director. “Our program consists of Head Start and Colorado state-sponsored children at risk for kindergarten difficulties, tuition-paying families, special education children with mild to moderate needs, and English-language learners.”
Our own Dr. Frank Sargent, with volunteer help from the club and support from the Buck Center staff, coordinates the annual holiday lunch with The Village. Englewood Walmart generously provides clothing and gifts at a discount.
“We see these kids running up to Santa, hugging him. They are so thrilled. And we know their Christmas will be a little brighter because of these gifts, which is rewarding for us,” Dr. Sargent said.
Another instrumental volunteer for the event was Ron Olivett, a former Rotarian whose voice and good cheer greatly resemble Santa’s.
Frank led the way, coordinating, shopping, sorting and wrapping, with help from daughter Linda and granddaughter Courtney.
Our club's experienced grandparents such as Larry Matten and Ann Fort charmed children at their tables with nursery rhymes and games.
Also attending and hosting kids were Dawn Shepherd (who supplied table decorations and shopped for gifts), Gary Sears (another shopper), Don Loyd with wife Lori and his dad, Bill Hopkins, Dick Hansen, Spencer Mamber (photographer), Sherry Sargent (photographer), Bob Fritz,  Jim Bowman, Josh Staller (emcee), Vee Sabel, Paul Carleno and Patty Burnett. (If I missed anyone, let me know and I will add your name!) 
And we had Cathy Eggleston at the piano, playing Christmas carols. President Josh led us in singing Jingle Bells and Here Comes Santa Claus -- and then Santa really came!

                                                                  Adapted from the press release sent to The Villager