Santa came a little early this year for the Hopes Father’s Group. This past Sunday Santa visited Room 84, owned by Hopes Group father Joseph Branco, to meet with local children and take pictures. Each child was given the chance to sit on Santa’s lap and tell them their Christmas wishes. They each were able to leave with a photo of them and Jolly Old Saint Nick courtesy of the Fathers Group.
This is the second annual “Photos with Santa” hosted by the group and the crowd more than doubled. Last year about 50 kids showed up and this year packed in at about 150. This kept the fathers quite busy serving pizza, controlling the crowd and making sure each kid got to meet the big guy. There was the occasional child that wanted nothing to do with him though which was the case with my two. Even if I was the big guy himself.
The group collected toy donations to be given to Anthony House family shelter in Jersey City. The group is trying to teach the children the importance of giving back.
The Fathers Group was formed by Hopes in order to get the local Fathers more involved with their kids’ lives. The group has grown in size since inception with many Fathers very interested in getting involved. The group is run by John Tamasi from the Hopes program and has about 30 to 40 Fathers now involved. Each month the group puts on events such as the open gym night, block parties, Donuts with Dads and other activities to bring Fathers and kids together.