San Antonio.- In spite of clear skies and temperature in the mid-70s on Saturday night a group of San Antonians witnessed snowflakes at the Alamo Quarry Market. This of course, accomplished by Santa Clause’s magic and the use of technology for the 2012 Festival of Lights kick-off benefiting the Family Service Association.
Organized by the Family Service Association, the event featured train rides, face painting, balloons, hot cocoa and cookies—all for free. Children and parents alike enjoyed the music of the Lamplighters Big Band Dance Orchestra, which played cheery winter holiday tunes and other all-time favorites.
The annual celebration serves a dual purpose for Family Service Association, the oldest human service agency in San Antonio: to showcase the many critical services and programs they provide to help children, families, seniors and veterans in need; and to help raise funds for their end of the year program.
Nancy Hard, Family Service president and CEO, explained to La Prensa that simple necessities taken for granted by many are hard to come by when a family is going through hardship. She said their end of the year Adopt-A-Family program helps provide these critical gifts for families in addition to children’s Christmas gifts.
“A lot of these families have their first pair of brand new underwear [provided] for their children— they’ve never had their own socks, their own toothbrush, or things like that, and the Adopt-A-Family program will help support this as well,” she said.
As children and parents at the Quarry awaited Santa, they had the opportunity to learn about how to help Family Service whether it was through a monetary donation, the purchase of a Buddy Christmas Tree, bidding on the online auction, or volunteering their time.
The most anticipated moment of the night happened around 7:30 p.m. As the emcees Alanna Sarabia from WOAI and Jorge Nuñez from KWEX were on the stage, attendees heard a loud thundering noise from afar. As the sound neared, wizards in place of reindeer became visible riding on rumbling motorcycles. The Blue Knights IV Alamo Chapter motorcade escorted Santa Clause who claimed that his reindeer had left him behind.
Once on stage, Santa addressed parents and children alike, making a special plea. “I am here to ask for your help,” said Santa, “that’s why I’ve come a little early.”
Santa asked all present to consider donating their time or money to Family Service to help the approximately 750 families registered for the Adopt-A-Family program.
Santa’s message resonated with that of the Family Service president.
“This is a particularly challenging year for nonprofits, but particularly for families, because our families are struggling so much with the economy, with job situations, and that sort of things, so people are lining up at our doors and critical services are very tough to fund this year, so we are very appreciative of everybody’s interest and support”, said Hard.
After sharing his Christmas wish of helping families in need, Santa saved the best for last. With a wave of his magic wand, he lit the switch of the Texas sized Quarry smokestacks and simultaneously it began to snow as children gasped in amazement.
For information on how to donate, volunteer, or receive assistance, contact (210) 299-2400 or visit www.family-service.org.