John Hart from Team Fastrax, a Middletown skydiving team, summed up the craziness inside the Middletown Eagles Lodge on Friday morning the best: “This is what Christmas is all about.”
It was hard to hear Hart over the Christmas music, excited children running toward Santa Claus, students rolling on the dance floor and the occasional barking dog.
In other words: Christmas For All was a success.
Eight buildings in the Middletown City Schools District sent 160 students with special needs to the annual event, said Cathy McCausland, intervention specialist at Middletown Middle School.
She said the event depends on substantial donations from Middletown area business and numerous volunteers. The district purchased T-shirts for the students, but everything else — from the gifts to the food — was donated, she said.
“This group really does embody the Christmas spirit with laughter and celebration,” McCausland said.
Santa Claus, played by Middletown police officer Chris Alfrey, gave each of the students a bag from MidPointe Library System that contained a T-shirt and other gifts.
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Team Fastrax gave the students winter hats and allowed them to try on some of the skydiving helmets.
“It’s a real privilege for the team to come out and be with the kids and give them Christmas cheer,” Hart said. “Middletown is a great community and we’re proud to be part of it.”
Entertainment was provided by the Highview Sixth Grade Center and Middletown Middle School choruses. Deb Alexander, director of the groups, said performing at Christmas For All is the “highlight” of the season.
“It’s an opportunity to them to share the gift of music with the community,” she said. “And just to spread some Christmas cheer. There is just so much Christmas spirit here at this party.”