The magic continues nightly this week at Bellingrath Gardens and Home. The 20th anniversary of Magic Christmas in Lights is open through Saturday, Jan. 2 (closed New Year’s Day). The outdoor light display, set out in a walking tour across the 65-acre estate along Fowl River, is a holiday institution on the Gulf Coast. Many guests don’t realize that this dazzling show is made right here in south Alabama. What makes it so special? Read on!
Five fun facts about Magic Christmas in Lights at Bellingrath Gardens and Home
1. Magic Christmas in Lights is one of the nation’s best holiday light shows, voted into the Top 10 of USA Today’s reader’s choice list in 2014! (Here is the link: www.10best.com/awards/travel/best-public-lights-display )
2. Magic Christmas in Lights isn’t ordered out of a catalog; it’s made right here in south Alabama. The entire holiday lights display is designed and built on-site by Bellingrath employees, two of whom work full-time, year-round to create and lamp the set pieces.
3. Magic Christmas in Lights is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2015. The lights are on from 5 to 9 p.m. nightly through Saturday, Jan. 2, 2016. (The Gardens are closed on New Year’s Day.)
4. The 20th anniversary holiday show has brand-new displays and effects, including animated snowflakes sparkling on the Great Lawn and 8-foot water lilies glowing on Mirror Lake. The Underwater Garden has been enhanced with blue track lights to create the effect of flowing waves overhead.
5. Magic Christmas in Lights is the perfect family event to get everyone into the holiday spirit. All ages – grandparents, babies and everyone in between – enjoy strolling the paths throughout the Gardens and taking magical photos together. “This is what Christmas is all about,” said Dr. Bill Barrick, Executive Director of Bellingrath Gardens and Home.
For more information, call Sally Pearsall Ericson, Director of Marketing and Public Relations, 251-973-2217
On your Mark! Get Set! 2nd Annual Caryn's Kids/Run with a Dot 5K Race/Skate/1-Mile Fun Run is Saturday, January 9, 2016
Order of Polka Dots Room C presents the 2nd Annual Caryn's Kids/Run with a Dot 5K/Skate/1-Mile Fun Run on Saturday, January 9, 2016. The race honors the late Caryn Hyatt Suthoff and a portion of the proceeds will benefit the Caryn's Kids Scholarship Fund. (For more information on Caryn and last year's inaugural run, see related stories on this blog, January 2015, or visit the Facebook pages of race organizer of Meighan Ayers Harton.)
The event will be held at the University of South Alabama Intramural Fields.
Race Day Registration is at 7 a.m.; the 5K Race starts at 8 a.m. with the Skate and 1-Mile Fun Run beginning at 9:15 a.m. For complete registration information and form, go to http://www.active.com/mobile-al/running/distance-running-races/caryn-s-kids-run-with-a-dot-2016 or
Race Registration 2016.docx. Mail completed form to Harton at 803 Wesley Ave., Mobile, AL 36608.
Post-race party activities include a cookout, refreshments, music and a runners' awards ceremony. Fun-Run participants are encouraged to wear a costume and to decorate a wagon or stroller for participating little ones. Awards will be given for the most creative and beautiful of both. Door prizes will also be given to participants.
On another note, sponsors are needed to help produce this year's race; the deadline for sponsorship entry is December 31, 2015. Sponsorships come in three packages--Gold, Green and Purple. Also needed are food/beverage/entertainment vendors to donate goods and services on race day. Call Harton at 251-709-2484 or go to Carynskids2027@aol.com for more information on becoming a sponsor or donor.
Mobile Opera is presenting "7 Days of Opera" January 3-9, 2016. "We want to celebrate all things opera throughout the week by introducing opera into the everyday routines of local residents--at markets, street corners and more!" says the organization's press release.
The schedule of Opera Moments includes the following events:
* January 3, 2-4 p.m.--Bizet's Pinata Bash at Larkins Music Center, Willson Recital Hall. Residents are invited to "Bring the family downtown to meet Mobile Opera's Young Artist Singers, dress up in costumes, have photo-booth fun and watch opera cartoons."
* January 4, 2 p.m.--Opera Afternoon Movie "The Pirates of Penzance" in Bernheim Hall at Ben May Main Library, 701 Government Street. Attendees can enjoy a free afternoon of "opera with a dash of cinema" (and popcorn.) Dressing in pirate gear is encouraged.
* January 5, 6:30-9 p.m.--A "Night of Song" will be presented at Cafe 615, downtown Mobile. This is Mobile Opera's popular Monthly Cabaret with a twist. Reservations are recommended.
* January 6, 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.--Catch the Opera Trivia Craze on Facebook and Twitter and play along. Prizes for those who play.
* January 7, throughout the day--Singers will "pop up" in various locations to share an Opera moment with residents. Locations will be announced via social media (some will be a surprise.)
* January 8, 6-8 p.m.--Opera ArtWalk, Larkins Music Center-Willson Recital Hall. Mini-concerts will showcase local stars with a variety of 15-minute serenades on the hour and half-hour.
* January 9, 1 p.m.--Madame Rose Palmai-Tenser Scholarship Competition Finals at Larkins Music Center, 2nd Floor, Willson Recital Hall.
For more information about "7 Days of Opera," call Mobile Opera at 251-432-6772.
"Murder at Mardi Gras" by Mobile Mystery Dinners' Theatre is January 9, 7 p.m. at Azalea Manor, 751 Dauphin Street, Mobile
Mobile Mystery Dinners' Players will present "Murder at Mardi Gras" on Satuday, January 9, 7 p.m. at Azalea Manor, 751 Dauphin Street in Mobile. Parking is free.
Advance reservations are required at www.mobilemysterydinners.com. Cost per person is $59, which includes an unlimited wine bar for the evening, a delicious catered meal and a 2 1/2 hour hilarious play by the MMD Players.
For more information, call 251-865-7341.
The Greater Mobile Bay Area Choral Society will resume rehearsals for the eighteenth season on Tuesday, January 5th at 7 p.m. at Government Street Presbyterian Church, 300 Government Street at the corner of Government and Jackson Streets.
The Choral Society invites and welcomes any interested singers who would like to consider joining our Society to attend any rehearsals during the month of January. This is our open audition period for the second semester of our concert year, said Director Terry D. Maddox.
For further information, Maddox at 251-434-9325 or email@example.com. Check the Facebook website for upcoming events.
Bellingrath Gardens and Home Winter Wednesdays: A series of sessions on gardening, history, birding and more
Even during the cold season, Bellingrath Gardens is filled with blooms, said Gardens Public Relations director, Sally Ericson. And Gulf Coast residents and visitors are invited to enjoy that beauty and participate in the Winter Wednesdays series in January and February. There will be sessions on gardening, history, birding and more during the weekly sessions held in the Magnolia Room from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. from January 13 through February 24, 2016.
Following is a brief description of each week's event; more details will be covered in this blog prior to the Wednesday sessions or one can find complete details at www.bellingrath.org. Registration are requested by calling 251-973-2217.
January 6 is a day-long shopping opportunity in the Bellingrath Gardens Gift Shop.
January 13 offers a Winter Garden Walk led by Director Bill Barrick, Nursery Manager Chuck Owens and Display Coordinator Barbara Smity.
On January 20, participants can learn about the furnishings in the Bellingrath Home and on January 27th, Dr. Mark LaSalle, Director of the Pascagoula River Audubon Center will tell guests how to identify birds along the Gulf Coast.
February sessions include a lecture and book signing by John Sledge on February 3; he will discuss his new book, "The Mobile River." Then on February 10, Linda Guy, Rosarian of Bellingrath's Rose Garden will talk about "Raising Roses."
February 17, Dr. Barrick and Chuck Owens will tell guests about "Getting Ready for Spring at Bellingrath Gardens" and on the 24th, Trailer McQuilkin's "Wildflowers" lecture and book signing is on the agenda.
Bellingrath Gardens and Home is operated by the Bellingrath Gardens and Home Foundation, a charitable, not-for-profit organization. Bellingrath Gardens and Home is dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of the 65-acre garden and estate home of Walter and Bessie Bellingrath.
For more information, visit www.bellingrath.org or call 251-973-2217. Sally Pearsall Ericson is Director of Marketing and Public Relations. Bellingrath Gardens and Home is at 12401 Bellingrath Gardens Road, Theodore, Alabama.
The 2nd Annual Caryn's Kids/Run with a Dot race is Saturday, January 9 at the University of South Alabama Intramural Fields. The 5K Race/Skate/1-Mile Fun Run honors the late Caryn-Hyatt Suthoff, who died of cancer in December, 2014; she was a kindergarten teacher at Dodge Elementary School.
The event will benefit sponsor Order of Polka Dots Mardi Gras Society and support a college scholarship fund for a student in Suthoff's class when he or she reaches college age. Organizer and fellow teacher, Meighan Harton said that last year's inaugural race enabled the run event to donate $2,500 to Caryn's Kids Scholarship Fund.
Right now, business sponsors are needed to help produce this year's race; the deadline for sponsorship entry is December 31, 2015. Sponsorships come in three packages--Gold, Green and Purple. Call Harton at 251-709-2484 or go to Carynskids2027@aol.com for more information on becoming a sponsor.
Also needed are food/beverage/entertainment vendors to donate goods and services on race day. And, last but not least, Harton said, "I am looking for participants!"
A skating component has been added to the event to encourage local derby groups to participate. They won't skate the 5K race course, but instead will free-skate around the track at the intramural fields. This is a family event, so moms and dads with little ones in strollers can also feel free to participate.
For more information, check Harton's Facebook or contact her at the above phone or email location.
Editor's Note: Thanks to all for reading this blog the past year. Views are running 4,500 to almost 7,000 per week. Continue sending your community news to firstname.lastname@example.org and do continue reading.
Noon Year's celebration is back at the Gulf Coast Exploreum on December 31, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Featured will be a "Noon Year" countdown, a mini-moonpie drop and lots of family activities, including Science Squad appearances, Exploding Moonpie Pinata, Firework Painting, the Science of Pyrotechnics, iHealthy Demonstration with Faulkner State University Culinary Chef Brandon Thrash (Chocolate Truffles), Live Science Demos and much more. General admission is $10 and includes Chocolate! The Exhibition, permanent exhibits, festivities and the IMAX Dome feature film Living in the Age of Airplanes. Admission is FREE for Exploreum members.
Noon Year's Balloon Drop will be held at Ben May Main Library, 701 Government Street on Thursday, December 31, 10 a.m. until noon. Families are invited to celebrate the new year with puzzles, Legos, crafts and stories, then go into the Reading Room for the final countdown and balloon drop at noon. Call 251-208-7086 for more information.
At the Moorer/Spring Hill Library Branch, Noon Year's Eve Party will be Thursday, December 31 beginning at 10:30 a.m. This is a child-friendly event with crafts, a photo booth, refreshments and a final countdown and balloon drop at noon. Call 251-470-7770 for more information.
Bellingrath Gardens Gift Shop After-Christmas Sale is Wednesday, January 6. Visitors are encouraged to take advantage of post-holiday discounts, then stay to tour the Gardens and Home. Call 251-973-2217 for more information.
Keep Mobile Beautiful Christmas Tree Recycling will continue through Wednesday, January 13, 2016. Volunteers will be on hand from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. to assist with unloading on Sunday, December 27, Sunday, January 3 and Saturday and Sunday, January 9 and 10. Do not deliver trees after January 13. Trees may be delivered to the following sites: 2655 Dauphin Island Parkway (Parkway Plaza); 2501 Government Boulevard (next to Whataburger); 4055 Cottage Hill west of Azalea; Airport at University Boulevard behind the gas station; Airport at Schillinger Road - in front of Lowe’s; Moffet at Forest Hill Drive - MAWSS Park Forest Center and in Tillman’s Corner at Clover Leaf Plaza. Remember to remove lights, ornaments, tinsel, plastic bags, garland and metal or plastic stand. For more information, contact Keep Mobile Beautiful, 251-208-6029 or www.cityofmobile.org
Mary Rodning will be the Semmes Senior Center featured artist for January and February. Her work will be displayed at the Center, 9635 Moffett Road, and members and others are encouraged to stop by and view the exhibit.
Chickasaw Seniors Early Bird Breakfast is Monday, January 4, 7:30 a.m. at Chickasaw Civic Center.
SouthWest Mobile County Chamber of Commerce noon business meeting and networking event is Wednesday, January 6, with Bill Sisson of Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce as guest speaker.
Sponsors and participants are being sought for the 2nd Annual Caryn's Kids/Run with a Dot 5K/Skate/1-Mile Fun Run on Saturday, January 9, 2016. Contact organizer Meighan Harton at 251-709-2484 or go to KarynsKids2027@aol.com for more information.
Auditions for “The Taming of the Shrew” at Playhouse in the Park will be on Monday and Wednesday, January 4 and 6 from 6:30 - 8:00 pm at The Playhouse. Those auditioning should be between the ages of thirteen and mid-twenties. The show will run in late February to mid March. Call Danny Mollise, 251.422.5434 for more information.
+ "Tartuffe," the classic Moliere play, begins January 15 at Joe Jefferson Playhouse.
+ 7 Days of Opera, with the Mobile Opera, is January 3-9.
+ Winter Wednesdays at Bellingrath Gardens and Home begin January 13 and last through February 24.
+ Mardi Gras in Mobile kicks off with the Krewe De La Dauphine parade January 9th at Dauphin Island.
In the Good News/Great Job department:
Heavy Hands for Hunger donated 500 pounds of non-perishable food items to One Meal for the homeless and hungry recently. "Another fine example of people helping people," said Mike McKinley, One Meal coordinator. For more on One Meal, visit www.onemealmobile.com or call McKinley, 251-379-9014,
Congratulations to Capt. Paul Henderson, recently named Creola Firefighter of the Year and to Bobby Smith and Officer Maurice Brown, Creola 2015 Employees of the Year.
Mobile City Council member, C.J. Small, District 3, said that some 10,000 people turned out to see the December 19 parade on Dauphin Island Parkway.
From Noah's Animal Refuge Centre in Wilmer comes not one, but two Good News stories: Director Jacki Armstrong said that Sonny, a beautiful dog, came to the Refuge Centre as an "owner surrender," meaning that his owner could no longer care for him (Noah's is a no-kill facility.) His owner continued to check on Sonny, Armstrong said. "He was heartbroken that he had to give him up, but knew it was in Sonny's best interest." The best news from Armstrong is that "We got a message that the owner's son wanted to take Sonny home with his family, and we are elated that Sonny has gone back to the family that has loved him his whole life. They came and took Sonny home today, and you could see how much Sonny missed his family! Have a great life Sonny!! We wish you all the best, little guy!"
And also from Noah's Refuge, Jacki Armstrong reports that "a wonderful donor has made a very generous offer to match any donations up to $500 for the remainder of 2015." She asks that readers consider "helping us continue our work to save countless lives of homeless and abused animals" by making a tax-deductible donation to Noah's Animal Refuge Centre; for more information, call Armstrong at 251-307-5879 or email email@example.com or log onto http://noahsanimalrefuge.com.
A Personal Observation--A Christmas Tradition: The Mother-Daughter After-Christmas-Sales Shopping Experience
Holiday traditions come and go. They last a year or two, or a couple of generations, then slip away.
Take, for example, my sugar-cookie baking "tradition" of 1963. My young family had just moved into our new house on December 22, just a month after I watched the building begin on the day President Kennedy was shot. Granny and Granddaddy were coming for supper on Christmas Eve, and Mike and Suzanne and I rolled out the cookie dough, cut out Christmas stockings and stars and candy cane shapes, sprinkled the cookies with granulated sugar and baked until crispy.
I don't remember why we didn't do it the next Chyristmas, but that was the only year for that "tradition."
One that lasted a little longer was the big shopping day at Bel Air and/or Springdale Mall. We, first my children and I and then later, my grandsons, would start the adventure with a high-carb breakfast at IHOP. Thus began several hours of happy shopping together and separately, as they got older.
That tradition lasted a whole generation and a half, until one Christmas, the youngest grandson, Brandon, and I were enjoying Tutti-Frutti Pancakes topped with Whipped Cream. Just sitting there going over our Christmas lists, when suddenly, one of the cooks raised his voice. (I'm guessing a customer didn't like the way her Tutti Fruitti was piled on the flapjacks or maybe the cook was just feeling the pressure of too many orders coming in too fast.)
At any rate, Brandon was sure the cook was going postal, so we left our Tutti Fruittis with sagging whipped cream, paid the bill and went to the mall. But that was the end of another tradition.
One that has held fast for many years and several generations is the "Mamma in Charge of Christmas Dinner." That one lingers from my Mamma to my sisters and me, and our daughters have been kind and generous enough, despite our "advancing age" to let us continue to think we rule the Thangsgiving and Christmas main meal. Actually, I'm sure all the neices and my daughter believe in karma, and know that if they snatch away our dinner-power, their daughters or daughters-in-law will do the same to them--plus use their recipes and dinnerware as if it were their own.
Oh, sure, I have heard that there ARE a few Mammas who gladly give away the Christmas-dinner reins. I've never met any of those, though; they are as elusive as Santa and his eight tiny reindeer.
However, there is one Christmas tradition that I don't think will ever die. And that's the "Mother-Daughter Day-After-Christmas Shop 'til you Drop" event.
Ever since Suzanne became an adult, we've set our alarms for sometime before daylight, turned on our respective coffee pots, grabbed a cup of strong brew and headed out to the shopping centers and malls to see what treasures we can find for next year.
Since we've both moved to west Mobile, we hit Cracker Barrel first. Spoiler alert; most of their sale prices are the same as they were on Christmas Eve, and there's no special on a fresh cup of coffee. On the plus side, the prices ARE already reduced and the people are very friendly. Kohl's is perfect for spending the Kohl's Cash you earned earlier, and Target is always a good place for wrapping paper, tissue, tags and ribbon (Note to self: Don't get anything with glitter--it stays in the carpet until you finally get a new floor.)
But it's the big department stores in the malls where you can see the most prevalent and longest-lasting tradition: Mothers and daughters shopping together.
As far back as I can remember shopping after Christmas, I've seen what may be a Southern thing, or maybe just in Mobile. Mamma may be using a cane, on a walker or in a wheelchair. But Daughter is patiently trudging through the aisles of Belk or Dillards (used to be Gayfer's and Hammel's) looking for after-Christmas bargains, generally to be put away for next Christmas. Daughter even tries to overlook the Mamma-talks-to-everybody-whether-she-knows-them-or-not phenomenon. After all, it's just this one day a year, and what's a few more minutes as two older women discuss whether their children went to school together.
It's my opinion--and this IS an opinion piece--that long after we mothers are gone, long after the family fruitcake recipe is lost, long after the sugar-cookie cutters have been sold or given away a
Dozens of children lined up to see Santa, sample the pizza and cupcakes and, in general, have a fun time at All God's Children Annual Christmas Party December 23. Santa made sure that each boy and girl went home with a stuffed animal to snuggle up with until Christmas Day.
AGC, with Sonya Humphries as Executive Director, holds the event each year at Semmes Community Center for youngsters mostly from the Wilmer, Georgetown, Fairview and Semmes area.
Pictured are a few of the children and some families.
Christmas Day through Wednesday, January 13, 2016
Volunteers will be on hand 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. to assist with unloading:
~Sunday, December 27
~Sunday, January 3
~Saturday and Sunday, January 9 &10
Be a good recycler …before delivery to the site, recyclers are asked to remove:
~Remove lights ~Remove plastic bags
~Remove tinsel ~Remove garland
~Remove ornaments ~Remove metal or plastic stand
Trees may be delivered to the following sites:
2655 Dauphin Island Parkway (Parkway Plaza)
2501 Government Boulevard (next to Whataburger)
4055 Cottage Hill west of Azalea
Airport at University Behind the gas station
Airport at Schillinger Road - in front of Lowe’s
Moffet at Forest Hill Drive - MAWSS Park Forest Center
Tillman’s Corner – Clover Leaf Plaza
DO NOT DELIVER TREES AFTER JANUARY 13
For more information, contact Keep Mobile Beautiful
208-6029 or www.cityofmobile.org
Winter Wednesdays at Bellingrath Gardens kicks off with an After-Christmas Sale in the Gift Shop on January 6, 2016
Winter Wednesdays at Bellingrath Gardens and Home kicks off with a day-long After-Christmas Sale in the Bellingrath Gift Shop. Visitors are encouraged to take advantage of post-holiday discounts and to tour the Gardens and Home. Regular Winter Wednesday sessions will be held January 13-February 24. Bellingrath Gardens is at 12401 Bellingrath Gardens Road, Theodore, Alabama.
Except for Christmas Day and New Year's Day, Magic Christmas in Lights will continue through January 2, 2016. For information, call 251-973-2217.
Noon Year celebration is at Gulf Coast Exploreum on December 31.
Featured will be a "Noon Year" countdown, a mini-moonpie drop and lots of family activities including Science Squad appearances, Exploding Moonpie Pinata, Firework Painting, the Science of Pyrotechnics, iHealthy Demonstration with Faulkner State University
Culinary Chef Brandon Thrash (Chocolate Truffles), Live Science Demos and much more!
General admission is $10 and includes Chocolate! The Exhibition, permanent exhibits, festivities and the IMAX Dome feature film Living in the Age of Airplanes!
Admission is FREE for Exploreum members!
The Exploreum will be open from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on New Years Eve for the Noon Year celebration (official closing time is at 4 p.m.) and CLOSED New Years Day.
Saraland Seniors held their Christmas party and game night on Monday, December 21 at the Senior Center on Mae Street.
Dozens attended and had fun playing bingo, dominoes and rook, shooting pool and, in general, enjoying fellowship, prizes and a fried-chicken dinner.
Pictured are a few scenes from the party.
Tri-Coastal Community Outreach, Inc. 10th Annual "On the Wings of Dove" Children's Christmas-Shopping Experience was held December 19
On Saturday morning, December 19, hundreds of invited children and their parents gathered for the 10th Annual Tri-Coastal Community Outreach "On the Wings of Doves" children's Christmas shopping experience.
This year, reported Sher Graham of the Synergy Solutions Group, some 300 children and their families came to 'shop' for gifts and toys in Santa's secret workshop, held at First Baptist Church of Grand Bay.
In this unique event, headed by TCCO Executive Director Carolyn Thompson, chidren, even toddlers, are given "Santa dollars" to do their own shopping, without their parents but with the aid of volunteer elves. "This is a time that makes the Christmas holiday a true time of giving and sharing when children from across the Gulf Coast region spend time with Santa's elves and shop for his or her Christmas presents," Thompson said.
But, she said, "We want to begin financial literacy at an early age," which is why children are issued the Santa money. "If we can help teach children that there is a cost to those items that they expect parents to magically purchase, then I feel that we're doing our job as a community outreach," Thompson said. "We have to start preparing our next generation about being fiscally responsible; children go through check-out lines just as we (adults) do," she said.
For more information, contact Thompson at 228-623-0017 or visit TCCO website at www.tricoastaloutreach.org.
Tri-Coastal Community Outreach, Inc. programs had a significant effect on area families, as seen in the figures for 2014, listed below.
More than 30,000 individuals were served with food and household goods
$850,000 in non-cash donated goods were received and distributed
500+ children received presents, including 200 coupons for new shoes from PayLess through "On Wings of Doves" Christmas Assistance Program
250 families received food boxes that included turkeys and whole hens for Thanksgiving
Professionals conducted approximately 100 classes and workshops, empowering more than 150 citizens to become more self-sufficient
Minions and Frozen characters were everywhere at the 10th Annual Tri-Coastal Community Outreach "On the Wings of Dove" Christmas shopping experience for children on Saturday December 19
USMC picks up a truckload of Toys for Tots at Gulf Coast Opry in Satsuma: This event takes "TEAM WORK," said Opry President Linda Walker, who thanked the many businesses, cities, individuals and the Opry family for making the mission a success
If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes several villages, businesses, organizations, individuals--and the U.S. Marine Corps--to make sure some Mobile area children have a Christmas to remember.
Linda Walker, President of the non-profit Gulf Coast Opry in Satsuma, said that the Opry began its Annual Toys for Tots collection in 2009 with just a small number of items. The collection has grown each year, and in 2015, included 21 bicycles, two trikes, two little Big Wheels, a Cozy Coup and four boxes of toys, two filled with girl things and two for the boys.
Walker said that it takes team work to accomplish the goal set for the Toys for Tots collection; this year, that goal was surpassed.
"We appreciate each and every individual and business that so generously gave their time and financial support," Walker said. That includes "the Opry family, the City of Creola and the many local businesses in Satsuma and Saraland and all those who support through the Memory Tree" (which honors family and friends "no longer with us," Walker said.)
Members of the USMC attend the Annual Opry Christmas Party, "have supper with us, stay and dance if time allows, take photos with the Opry family," then help load the truck with all the toys "from all over Mobile County and beyond," Linda Walker said.
Below are some photos from the recent Toys for Tots event. The photo with the green box is the first year's collection. The number of toys collected has grown each year, Walker said.
2015 Saraland Leadership Class, with help from the Saraland Area Chamber of Commerce and City Council, led a project to collect toys for the University of South Alabama Children's and Women's Hospital, gathering more than $500 worth of toys. Pictured at the unveiling of the toys at the Chamber's Christmas Banquet are Bradley Flowers, Joe Freeman and City Council member Newton Cromer. "Leadership Saraland Class of 2015 had a great year. The Chamber is accepting applications for next year's class now," Cromer said.
All God's Children Annual Christmas Party is Wednesday, December 23, 6 p.m. at Semmes Community Center on Moffett Road
Sonya Humphries, Director of All God's Children, a 501 (C) (3) non-profit organization, picks up a donation of toys for the December 23 Annual Christmas Party at Semmes Community Center. Santa attends the party and gives all children a stuffed animal or other age-appropriate toy as they and their families enjoy pizza, music and games. Parents can also pick up gently used clothing for themselves and their children.
All God's Children also supplies gifts and food for several families in need at Christmas and offers other events during the year. Included is a program called Girls' Night Out, which provides clothing, cosmetics and free hair cuts for women and girls. To make a tax-deductible donation to AGC or to enjoy the party with the families, call Sonya Humphries, 251-209-9163.