Party helps Boys & Girls Clubs kids ‘CATCH the Spirit’


By BRIAN GRAVES Staff Writer
Posted 12/10/17

The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Ocoee Region served up some Christmas cheer for more then 700 of their members during Saturday’s “CATCH the Spirit” held at the Tucker Unit in …

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Party helps Boys & Girls Clubs kids ‘CATCH the Spirit’

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The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Ocoee Region served up some Christmas cheer for more then 700 of their members during Saturday’s “CATCH the Spirit” held at the Tucker Unit in Cleveland.

“We set this up in a way not to rush people,” said Derrick Kinsley, BGCOR executive officer. “We tried to make this more like an experience so they weren’t rushed in a food line.”

“They come in the doors and are greeted, given an opportunity to have family portraits made, which they get a copy of for free,” Kinsley said. “They then go into a room to hear the Christmas story and there is a band that plays and sings. They also get introduced to what we do here at the Boys & Girls Clubs.”

The meal is a sit-down, served meal, giving the kids the opportunity to actually order their own meals from servers in white shirts and bow ties.

The meal included turkey or ham, green beans, corn, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, bread and dessert.

“It’s pretty fun,” Kinsley said. “They order smoked turkey or ham — they can have both. Some of the kids are the drink staff, some do hot teas and cocoas. There is also a raffle prize, gift baskets with food for Christmas. When they leave, they get backpacks full of gifts.”

Kinsley said several churches volunteer to help noting youth groups from Mount Olive Ministries and Parkway Baptist Church were  helping in serving.

“CATCH Ministries and the Boys & Girls Clubs began talking some time ago about partnering on an event like this,” he said. “They are the ones who were here all night last night setting up and cooking the food. We had a shift come in today to do the actual hands on at the dinner.”

“It’s really neat to see everybody come together to do this. The reward is seeing their faces,” Kinsley said.

Sometimes what is seen is far more somber.

“We had a young mother with children who, when they got here, the children had no socks or shoes. It was freezing and they had been sitting outside two hours before we opened the doors waiting to get in,” Kinsley said. “The club staff went and bought them some clothes. But, there is now a family from one of the churches who have adopted them for Christmas.”

Kinsley said anyone wanting to help can go to their website and choose from various options for giving.

“It costs $547 a year to serve one child,” he said. “We serve over 3,000 and have seen at least 600 per day this fall.”

Another Christmas party is scheduled for Tuesday  at the Blythe Family Resource Agency. The doors open at 5 p.m. with the party ending by 8:30 p.m.

“Everybody gets Buffalo Wild Wings,” Kinsley said. “They bring somewhere between 5,000 to 7,000 wings. There will be other foods there and everybody gets to see Santa Claus. There will also be live entertainment.”

“It will be an evening of silliness and fun,” he said.

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