Pomerleau Holiday Party Celebrates Family Posted on December 11, 2015 by dwood Cheers to Another Successful Family Holiday Party! Did you know the Pomerleau Foundation has been sponsoring the Family Holiday Party for 35 YEARS, and according to Tony it will continue for an another 15 – a grand total of 50 years of bringing Holiday joy to families in need! The party recap, by the numbers: (It’s almost like the 12 Days of Christmas song… but different.) 480 guests 600+ hand-made ornaments from People’s United Band and Global Foundries/IBM 260 gift bags, one for each kid 50+ poinsettias from Claussen’s Florist 48 tables in one BIG ballroom at the Hilton Hotel 45+ volunteers from UVM Field Hockey , BHS, community members, City staff and staff family 20 special guests 4 costume characters 1 presidential candidate Airbrush face painting and balloon fun! The whole afternoon is all about the kids and giving them something really special this time of year… Because we all know that smiling kids make parents happy too. At the event, kids could have their faces painted and get balloon creations. Santa and Mrs. Clause were on site to hear Christmas wishes, and a small cast of characters we ready for lots of hugs including the Grinch, Rudolph, Olaf and a polar bear! So many hugs and high-fives! Families even had the chance to get a photo together and leave with the hand-decorated keepsake. A family photo op! This year’s party hosted 480 people including 260 kids, who were all treated to a holiday meal complete with turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, salad, veggies and desserts. As tables were called to buffet line a few at time, plates were piled high, with plenty for everyone. Thanks to the many officers from the Burlington Police Department came to help serve food to families. Behind the scenes, the event brings together over 45 volunteers and organizations from our area to make the magic happen. Santa’s Helpers We are especially grateful to the Hilton Hotel for their generous sponsorship of the event. They donate the ballroom rental, provide staffing and ensure that meals for all volunteers and kids under 4 are free. The tables are decorated with festive poinsettias donated by Claussen’s Florist. All is ready for our guests! Not only does every child get a gift bag with age appropriate gifts, they also get to choose handmade ornaments, and volunteers gift wrap them, so kids can have the opportunity to give gifts to loved ones. For the past twenty years, employees from Integrated Health Services at IBM and the EHS Department at Globalfoundries gather together at potlucks at various member’s homes and the last few years at Zachary’s Pizza and craft ornaments! Surprise gifts in a reusable tote! From Left to Right: Christopher Ciccone (Globalfoundries), Christine Desaulniers (IBM), Javier Santalla Elias (Globalfoundries), Emma Allen (BPRW), Gary Rogers (BPRW), Maureen Johnson (IBM) This year was made extra special when Bernie Sanders joined us for the event. He’s done so for many years and has a long standing relationship with Tony Pomerleau. Old friends Bernie and Tony Wonder if they’re on Santa’s Nice list? Parks Director Jesse Bridges and Mayor Miro Weinberger welcomed everyone and paid special thanks to the community groups that provided services for families through the year, such as the Howard Center, Burlington Housing Authority, COTS, King Street Youth Center, Women Helping Battered Women, Sara Holbrook Center, Chittenden Community Action, Champlain Valley Headstart, Lund Family Center, Mercy Connections, Boys & Girls Club, VNA, Ronald McDonald House, Salvation Army, Greater Burlington YMCA, and Burlington Kids. Tony spoke with good humor and energy about the history of the event and how he is proud to help the community. We hope to see him at next year’s event for his 99th. Warm Holiday Hugs for Everyone!