By: Dale King Contributing Writer
More than 155 children from needy families in the Boca Raton/Delray Beach area are beginning 2019 with newly purchased clothing, full tummies and food to share with family members, all thanks to the Boca West Children’s Foundation, the Boys & Girls Club of Palm Beach County, which serves Boca Raton and Delray Beach, and volunteers from Boca West Country Club.
Just before Christmas, folks from those organizations gave of their time and talent to usher the kids around the Old Navy Store at 9887 Glades Road, Boca Raton, for a 90-minute clothes-hunting and purchasing spree for children age 6 to 13 as part of the ninth annual holiday shopping trip that benefitted more than 155 children.
Each child received a $50 gift card to purchase clothing for themselves in the store. The young shoppers were accompanied by a Boca West Country Club volunteer during their journey through the store.
Provisions were made to provide clothing and necessities a number of other family members, but many of the participating kids said they wanted to spend their own money on gifts for siblings – in keeping with the Christmas spirit, said Jennifer Bate, executive director of the Boca West Children’s Foundation.
She said one youngster who longed for a Miami Heat cap was willing to give it up so he could get socks for his sister. “I want to give it to her as a present,” said the boy who nearly had onlookers in tears.
Joel Macher, a member of the Boca West Children’s Foundation Board of Directors, said a thankful 6-year-old girl came up to him during the event and asked if he would call her during the year. She held in her hand a toy cell phone.
After finding clothing for themselves, the kids from the Boys & Girls Club campuses in Delray and Boca were treated by the Boca West Children’s Foundation to an over-the-top breakfast at Boca West Country Club. The menu included bagels, doughnuts, French toast, waffles, pastries, fruit, juices and bacon – lots of bacon, which seems to be a popular item among the youngsters.
The ballroom was decorated to the hilt with colorful holiday finery. Disney movie characters — Buzz and Woody from Toy Story along with Elsa, Anna, and Olaf from Frozen — entertained the children who went home after the special morning meal with their clothes from Old Navy, a gift from Santa and a basket filled with turkey, a ham, fresh vegetables and all the fixings for a holiday meal.
At the front of the ballroom sat Mr. and Mrs. Claus, who received no end of thank-you’s as the children filed out with their goodies and headed back to their buses.
The Boca West Children’s Foundation was launched in November of 2010. Its mission is to identify and fund projects to assist at-risk children and their families in need. Since its inception, the Foundation has provided more than $6 million for specific programs of 25 charities, said Bate.
The Foundation has fed, clothed, provided medical and dental services, kept abuse shelters open and sent at-risk children to summer camp, among its many projects.
She noted that the founder and current chairman, Arthur Adler, felt it was “time to be charitable. The Foundation came about as a desire by members of Boca West Country Club to give back to the Palm Beach County community.”
Bate added: “We are here to find a need and fund it.”