Hundreds of local families were given a wonderful holiday treat Dec. 19, as they enjoyed the annual Community Christmas Party at the Shippensburg University Rec Center.

The party was hosted by the Shippensburg Area Chamber of Commerce and Christ Among Neighbors.                                                    

Wendy Forrester, office manager of the chamber, said, “Another wonderful turnout of people and families this year. This is the 13th year for this special holiday event for the community. Eight years at the Firefighters Activities Center and five years here at the University Recreation Center. It’s for families that reside in the Shippensburg Area School District. It’s a fun-filled family event, and a way to give back to the families, make new friends and socialize.”   

Scott Brown, president of the chamber, said, “I started this event and I want to make sure the community’s needs are met. It’s to bring the residents of the community together. It’s the Spirit of Christmas from us at the chamber and all the other organizations here this evening, and giving back to the residents of the community.”

Children were able to visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus, and get their photos taken during the party. They also enjoyed a free meal, holiday crafts, a meet-and-greet with Shippensburg police officers, plastic fireman helmets from the Shippensburg Fire Department, Christmas carols, holiday music by the Shippensburg German Band and a free wrapped gift. Older children received gift cards to Walmart.

A number of children also received door prizes, including several bikes.

Karen Boutcher, treasurer of Christ Among Neighbors, said, “I have been involved with this event for the past 13 years, and this is a wonderful event for our community. There are a lot of families here in our local community that are in need.”

Suzanne Hildabrand, president of Christ Among Neighbors, said, “I have been involved with this event all 13 years. It’s really nice that we can help out and assist with the community.  It sure has grown over the years.” 

Local parent Michelle Watson said, “This is really nice what they do for the children and families. A very generous event to enjoy at Christmastime.”

Forrester said, “The organizations and businesses here this evening include our partner Christ Among Neighbors, Members 1st Federal Credit Union, WellSpan, Re/MAX Prestige, Your Hometown Real Estate, Cub Scout Troop 121, Grandpoint Church of Shippensburg, Oasis Of Love, People Ready, Gannon Associates, Creative Engraving Plus, Drew Michael Taylor Foundation, Shippensburg Fire Department, Shippensburg Police Department, Shippensburg University Police, Shippensburg University and the Board of Directors of the Chamber Of Commerce. Thank you to all, and have a Merry Christmas.”      

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