Thousands flocked to the Farm Show Complex Monday evening for Dauphin County’s 10th annual holiday celebration.
The yearly tradition brings together struggling Midstate families for a night of fun, festivities and food.
But more than just a warm meal and fun were on the menu. So, too, was a host of vendors from the social and human services industries, available to help families help themselves.
“To connect and educate and inform them to things that can help them to sustain their lives,” Dauphin County communications coordinator Helen Spence said.
Sue Bosco was one of the more than 200 volunteers who helped to staff the event. She was in charge of doling out heaping piles of mashed potatoes.
“Somebody said there was a party at the Farm Show on Cameron Street, and I said ‘hmm, wonder how I can get in’? I said, oh – I can help out,” she said. “No one gets to go away hungry here tonight.”
Families were treated to live entertainment, music, festive crafts as well as games and visits with Santa.
Each family also went home with a bag full of household items and toys for each kid.
Making sure everyone was “filled” in more ways than one was the event’s primary goal.
“It is definitely awesome as far as the volunteers and everyone,” said mother of three Keisha Hayes. “They’re so nice for coming and donating their time. I’ve seen a few police officers.”
The event was organized by Dauphin County Commissioners Jeff Haste, Mike Pries and George P. Hartwick III and the county’s Human Services Department, in collaboration with New Beginnings Youth and Adult Services and the Partnership for Hope.
Some items and even the complex space were donated. Several corporate sponsors including Highmark Blue Shield and Capital Blue Cross helped to make the event possible.