Back in March, the post suffered a break-in, in which video machines, game machines, cabinets and drawers were damaged and about $8,000 in cash and goods was stolen. However, the misfortune didn’t dampen the spirits of the members of the post and its Ladies Auxiliary.
Despite the earlier setback, about 130 people with disabilities plus their families were invited to attend the 30th annual Christmas party. Funds are raised throughout the year from bingo — which is played seven days a week — to buy Christmas gifts.
“Every year, whether we got money or not, this is one thing that goes on,” said Army veteran Dan Gardner, post commander. “We’re struggling, but we always find money for this particular event.”
The Christmas party is one of the post’s biggest yearly events.
The party’s attendees are selected through schools and organizations that deal with people who have disabilities. They and their relatives or caregivers are then bused to the event, where they can participate in carnival games, prizes, Christmas carols, a hot dog lunch and enjoy an appearance by Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus.
Members from the Young Marines, an educational and service program for boys and girls, greeted guests and helped out at the party.
“This gets our Christmas off to a jump start,” said Gailya Stephenson of the Ladies Auxiliary.
About 25 post members were on hand, along with Ladies Auxiliary members, at the event. Senior Vice Commander Carl Ryan of Acworth, who served in the Navy in Vietnam, said seeing the joyful expression on the faces of the children when they receive their gifts makes the party preparations all worthwhile.
“When these kids smile at you, if your heart doesn’t melt, then it wouldn’t melt for nothing,” he said.
Next week, members of VFW and Ladies Auxiliary Post 2681 will also distribute food baskets for veterans, their spouses or widows in need of a Christmas dinner. Baskets will be distributed on a first come, first serve basis and only one box per family per address. Identification, such as a driver’s license, ID card or military ID, is required.
The event will be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 21 at the post, located at 140 Powers Ferry Road just off Roswell Road in Marietta. For more information, call post officers at (910) 381-4715 or (770) 596-2258.