PLYMOUTH — Members of the Plymouth Neighborhood Watch attempted to bring a bit of Christmas cheer to both young and old on Tuesday night, making their way through the borough aboard a trolley bus and stopping at sites to sing carols.
The annual tradition embodies everything that Christmas should be, said member Matt Hornick. “This isn’t about anyone getting credit for anything,” he said. “This is about the children.”
The group invited children from the Catherine McAuley House, a transitional housing facility for homeless women and their children, to Happy’s Pizza, where they could enjoy food and time to socialize with Santa. Theresa Velazquez, a resident at the home, brought her 4-month-old daughter Xiomara Carter.
Despite her tender age, Carter seemed to be enjoying every minute of the controlled chaos, reaching out to touch the bows atop colorful packages.
“She’ll probably pull on Santa’s beard,” said Velazquez. “She likes him. She’s not afraid at all.”
Sister Breige Lavery, interim director of the McAuley House, said young residents had been excited about the event throughout the day. She lauded the generosity of area residents who made the activities possible. “People, families, businesses made sure our children will have gifts to open on Christmas morning,” Lavery said. “They also offered holiday events throughout the month.”
The program houses women for about a month, assisting them in obtaining various resources, including permanent housing. “Just the other day, one of our residents was moving out and needed furniture,” she said. “Someone wanting to donate lived on the same street. Sometimes it just works out like that.”
After the children had returned home via the trolley bus, members of the Neighborhood Watch again boarded the vehicle – this time bound for Plymouth Manor Personal Care Center, where they provided gifts and fellowship to the residents.
Several residents greeted Santa as he and Mrs. Claus emerged from the trolley, handing out candy canes and offering holiday wishes. Many of the residents were visibly moved as the neighborhood watch members handed out gifts and sang carols.
Maribeth Rosensteel, president of the organization, said the event reflected the organization’s commitment to community and willingness to serve.