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Proud to be Santa
The kids were all smiles.
Some parents were a little embarrassed. Others were adamant It was only for this year, since next year theyll be back on track, economically. Many were working parents who still couldnt make ends meet. Some were disabled and unable to work.
I want to open each of my presents when I get back to my cousins house, said Jasmine, 9, there with three of her cousins and her aunt.
Carolynne Bowlen, aunt to Jasmine and mother to the other three: Katelynne, 3; Brittney, 5; and Tailer, 4 all girls.
No, youre not going to open them. Theyre to be saved for Christmas, said Bowlen.
We did this last year too, she said. Santa was nice ... were able to put a lot more presents under the tree.
The Marine Corps Reserve and Marine Corps League, Olympic Peninsula Detachment helped collect, wrap and give away 3,000 gifts for 1,500 to 1,800 needy kids that came to the Kitsap County Fairgrounds Pavilion Saturday, Dec. 13.
Arnette Haakenson of Bremerton was ecstatic.
It was wonderful, she said, three kids in tow. They wouldnt have had much of a Christmas without this. Its all about the kids.
Her children, Kiera, 13, Tila, 4 and Sarah, 3, each got to see Santa and each received a plastic bag with three wrapped presents.
She commented that shed just been laid off, at Christmas the most horrible time of the year to be laid off.
Suzanne Hamilton of Silverdale said her daughter, 11-month-old Savannahmarie, just sat on Santas lap and didnt say a thing.
But it was a good experience for her. Mom was grateful for the bag of gifts.
Quincella Johnson of Bremerton was there with four of her grandchildren. Three from my daughter and one from my son. Brittany, 11, Whitney, 7, Chauntic, 9 and Chantel, 13
Bowlen was handicapped and in a scooter-like wheelchair.
I love Toys for Tots, she said. Theyre good people.
She added that after raising her own children, now she was in the position of raising her childrens children. She didnt elaborate.
I thought it was really great, said Heidi Paul of Silverdale. She brought each of her two children one hers and the other a foster child One at a time so they could do their own thing.