In what has become a yearly tradition of helping our communities celebrate Christmas, BBO President/founder Michael Burke and BBO members teamed up with Blue Magazine President/BBO Partner Daniel DelValle, bringing Christmas to over 400 public school children who attend Paterson Public School#10. The volunteers attending transformed the school gym into a winter wonderland, including fake snow, inflatable Christmas characters, Santa hats and candy for the children and even music.
Flanked by the Grinch, Captain America and a band of Santa’s Elves, which included Blue Magazine sponsors: Tri State Health and Wellness Dr Alex Matirosov, Wayne Ford’s Troy Mol, and Michelle Hendershot of Homebridge Financial Mortgages, Santa individually delivered gifts to each student, ranging in ages from kindergarten to 5th grade. Based on their GPA’s and community service records, two students where chosen by the school administrators to each receive their own iPad. Santa was also sure to make sure he didn’t forget the teachers! Over 30 gift cards to Dunkin Donuts were presented to the educators as a thank you for all of their selfless work.
This year’s event was a family affair. Leading up to the event, Michael’s house served as Santa’s workshop, where over 500 gifts donated directly from BBO’s members were shipped to and hand wrapped by his wife, Julie and his daughter Sydney. Both Michael’s and Danny’s wives and families also participated in the day, as well as children of many of our members/volunteers.
The day, itself, served as an example of what is as true today as it has ever been: no one cares for their communities like the American police officer and their families. No matter what is being said about police officers in the news or on social media, the work both on and off the clock continues, uninterrupted and undeterred. Michael summed it up, “It was an honor to have Paterson School#10 allow us to interact with the children, bringing them Christmas cheer and, hopefully, making a lasting impression as we work towards bridging the gap between law enforcement and the communities we serve.”