Each year, the Pomerleau Family and Burlington Parks, Recreation and Waterfront, along with partners and sponsors, host a huge Holiday Party for qualifying families at the Hilton Hotel in Burlington. Families get free tickets from agencies like Howard Center, Burlington Housing Authority, COTS, King Street Youth Center, Steps to End Domestic Violence, Sara Holbrook Center, Chittenden Community Action, Champlain Valley Headstart, Lund Family Center, Mercy Connections, Boys & Girls Club of Burlington, VNA, Janet Munt Family Room, Salvation Army, and the Greater Burlington YMCA.
In the big ball room, the scene is set with 40 tables topped with poinsettias from Claussen’s Florist.
There was music, face painting, coloring activities, family photos, and photos with Santa costume characters. Each child got a gift bag with a small present just for them. Our friends at IBM, Global Foundries and People’s United Bank helped hand make hundreds of holiday ornaments for the kids to select one and get wrapped so they would have something to give their families too! Speaking of presents. This year, as a special gift to Tony Pomerleau, kids and parents decorated special cards for him. Together we gave him 100 cards to celebrate his 100th Birthday!
Our special guests Senators Bernie Sanders and Patrick Leahy, Governor Phil Scott, Mayor Miro Weinberger and our Director Cindi Wight offered welcoming remarks. Everyone mentioned how special this event is and that we’re so fortunate to have this tradition for the past 37 years! It’s grown from hosting only a few families to over 400 guests!
The afternoon tops off with a delicious meal and dessert.
We couldn’t do this without MANY volunteers from BHS and UVM. Each table has helper “elves” to get drinks for the kids and help at the lunch buffet.
Many of our finest Burlington Police officers come assist families as well, even welcoming the opportunity to hold babies to free up parents’ hands.