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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Cottam Rotary welcomes Santa at annual visit


by Sylene Argent, Local Journalism Initiative

With a special connection to the North Pole, members of the Rotary Club of Cottam were able to get Santa and Mrs. Claus down to Cottam Rotary Park on Friday evening.

The event was a way to connect local youths with the big guy in red ahead of Christmas Eve, allowing them an opportunity to voice their Christmas wishes early.

The Rotary Club of Cottam hosts this event every year as a way to provide the community with a fun night out in anticipation of Santa’s official visit in the coming weeks. It is also a way for the Club to promote its major fundraiser of Christmas tree sales.

Rotary Club of Cottam President, Crystal Heinrichs, noted the Christmas tree sales this year are going very well. The Christmas trees are set up inside the pavilion at Cottam Rotary Park, and are used as a way to guide the youths in the winding lineup while waiting to visit with Santa.

It creates this very festive atmosphere.

New this year, knowing that the event is always well attended, the Cottam Rotary Club had a couple of youths dressed up as Christmas characters to help entertain the youths while they waited for their chance to sit on Santa’s lap and get a picture.

Heinrichs estimated around 50 kids attended the event, which was a great turnout of support. Each of the young visitors received a small goodie bag filled with fun items. In addition, hot chocolate was provided by a Grounded Cafe and cookies were provided by Auntie Aldoo’s Kitchen in Cottam.

Heinrichs noted that she was always pleased with the community support, and that the community partners always step up to support Rotary events, including the Firefighters with the Cottam Fire Department, who get Santa and Mrs. Claus to the event safely in one of the fire trucks.

This was the second year the Cottam Rotary Club asked event attendees to donate either monetarily or non-perishable food items at the event. The donations will be forwarded to the Essex Area Food Bank. Heinrichs noted she was pleased with the number of donations they were able to collect.

With parent feedback, this year’s event took place on a Friday evening, giving parents the benefit of it taking place at the start of the weekend. They also implemented an end time this year, ensuring Santa could meet with all kids planning to head out to the event.

The Rotary Club raises funds through its various fundraisers, including the Christmas tree sales, to support the community, especially youth-oriented initiatives. And continuing with its supportive nature of the community, the Cottam Rotary Club is hosting its Socks and Bottoms collection currently.

The club is collecting warming wear – from undergarments, to socks, to hats and mittens – which can be dropped off at Grounded Cafe until December 15th. At that time, the Cottam Rotary Club will distribute them within the community to those who need them. Those who would like to provide a cash donation or know of a family who could use some items, are urged to reach out to the Rotary Club of Cottam on its social media page to make arrangements.

Those in need may even be able to get some items on Thursday evenings, where members of the Cottam Rotary Club typically hand out vegetables at Cottam Ridgeview Park, between 6-7pm. Heinrichs urges those interested to check its social media page to ensure they will occur before heading out.

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