On Saturday, December 16, the Red Hook Recreation Center had their annual holiday celebration to give back to the youth of the community.
The holiday party went from 12 until 3 pm, and there were activities like basketball, pool, Nok-Hockey and card games for the kids. Adults and kids were also able to utilize the computers in the computer room during the afternoon.
The Parks Department advertised this day as a way to celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Three Kings Day with fun activities.
There were free toy giveaways for children up to 17 years old as well as for seniors 62 and older.
The kids wrote letters to Santa and they got to wait online and receive their presents one by one. There were also many adults in a back room receiving gifts that they had requested.
In the beginning, until about 1:15, the kids had the opportunity to run around and play basketball and enjoy what the Rec Center has to offer and then the main activities began.
Starting at about 1:15, near the reception desk, the kids lined up to get a picture with Santa. A Polaroid picture was taken of each of them that they got to see shortly after they met Santa.
There were six different bikes that were raffled off that were donated by members. Jonathan Rueda and Damien Clarke were the two Neighborhood Coordination Officers (NCOs) there and according to Rueda the NCOs donated one of the bikes.
“Everyone is here because this is a community event,” Rueda said.
The NCOs read off the raffle numbers one by one and then each winner enthusiastically got their bike.
One of the winners was a parent of twins who are almost five. This woman, who has lived in Red Hook for three years, won one purple bike and one pink bike for her daughters.
She was happy since she was going to get them bikes at Target but was able to get them new ones at the raffle for free instead.
In addition to the bike raffle, there were five turkeys that were also raffled off by the NCOs for people at the event to take home and enjoy. There was a woman from the Red Hook Conservancy at the Rec Center, and she said that the Conservancy supplied the pizza from Mark’s Pizza on 326 Van Brunt Street.
Parks Department volunteers also had people fill out forms so that people could become members while they were getting their raffle tickets for the bikes and turkeys.