PARKERSBURG - A number of local children will have something under the tree this year for Christmas thanks to the efforts of a local tavern.
The Blue Moon Tavern on St. Marys Avenue held its second annual Christmas party for over 50 neighborhood children, ages 1 week to 13 years, and their families Sunday.
Families got to enjoy pizza, chips and soft drinks as well as the kids having a chance to visit with Santa and receiving a gift.
Photo by Brett Dunlap
Brooklyn Bell visits with Santa at a Christmas party held Sunday at the Blue Moon Tavern on St. Marys Avenue for children around the neighborhood.
"We raised $1,100 and sponsored 51 kids," said Lisa Bell, who along with her husband Billy, owns the Blue Moon Tavern. "We worked for almost three months raising money with our patrons and we have had quite a few sponsors this year."
Those sponsors included Conn Potato Chips; K-Mart donated 20 percent off of all the toys bought; Emerson Bowling Lanes donated 10 pizzas; Cheryl Zimmerman donated stocking stuffers for the kids; Bailey Enterprises donated money for gifts for the kids; and one local woman made Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls and brought them for the kids.
"We thought was really sweet," Bell said of the woman's efforts with the dolls and how she remained anonymous in doing it.
Butch Todd was the founder of the toy drive and he has put a lot of time and money into it. He also got to play Santa for the kids.
Although people tend to have a negative connotation of bars and taverns, Bell said they understand what people go through, especially this time of year, and they want to be able to help in some small way.
"We are not a bad place because we are a bar," Bell said. "We want everyone to know that everyone has hearts, no matter what walk of life they might come from.
"We want local businesses to do more. Just because you are little, doesn't mean you can't work hard and raise money to make sure kids have a Christmas. With these kids, if it wasn't for us sponsoring them, they probably would not have had Christmas."
The tavern was able to collect names from its patrons and from people around the neighborhood of anyone who otherwise would not have a Christmas.
"It was important for all of us here to do, because times are tough and a lot of people don't have the money," Bell said. "We were afraid that if we couldn't help a few of them, they wouldn't have Christmas.
"That breaks my heart that kids would wake up Christmas morning and not have anything."
Although presents are not the main reason for the season, the kids still enjoy having something and it is something they look forward to.
"We know that 51 kids in this area will have something for Christmas," Bell said.
The families of the kids were thankful to the Blue Moon Tavern for doing the party on Sunday.
"It is pretty good," said Roy Buchanan. "It does a lot for the kids in the neighborhood."
Summer Lucky said the kids all had a great time.
"They are having fun and it is a blessing that (The Blue Moon Tavern) took the time to do this for the kids," she said.
Crystal Persinger credited Todd with being a very good Santa and making it more believable for all of the kids. She also credits the tavern with putting the party on as well as doing other fundraisers and being involved in the community.
"They are out to help people in the neighborhood," she said. "This place helps out a lot more than this.
"They are a helpful bar."
The kids got a chance to tell Santa what they wanted and got to experience some Christmas spirit. The kids all had a good time, thanks to the people at the tavern.
"They make sure there is a gift for each kid," Persinger said. "It is a blessing that they do this and I am thankful for this.
"I have three kids and it is helpful to me. This right here is an example of what they do. They are out to help people in the neighborhood."
Bell said they are already planning fundraisers and more in the coming months, including a possible car show and hog roast.
"Our goal is to sponsor 100 kids next year," she said.