All the good little boys and girls living off Greenfield Drive got a special boost of holiday cheer Monday with some toys, games and food from the James Crossing Santa Claus and his helpers.
The community center at James Crossing Apartments tends to be bustling with youthful energy during programs for nonprofit Self Help Obtaining Positive Opportunities (SHOPO) Nation. There, Ronald “BB” Shavers and other volunteers provide a positive, safe space for kids living in the neighborhood both before and after school.
“The one thing we’re teaching all these kids is working together and discipline,” he said.
On Monday while kids tried their hands at games of chess, a few different churches and ministries dropped off bags full of toys at the center. As adults unloaded the goodies, the kids started to get a little restless and their eyes shone a little brighter.
After saying what they were thankful for and an inspirational pep talk, they each got a chance for a one-on-one chat with Santa (Shavers) in his fortress of toys, then picked out a few to fill a bag and take home.
Q-Cyriyan Morgan, 4, arrived at the center dressed to the nines in a velvet-and-fur Christmas dress with mom Siarra Rose and grandma Marilyn Morgan. The splendor isn’t just for the holidays — Rose said her daughter loves dressing up all the time.
Though Q-Cyriyan doesn’t participate in the SHOPO Nation programs, Rose said their family got a helping hand from the community center before with back-to-school backpacks. Having helped select an extra few Christmas toys for her daughter, Rose said “This is a huge help.”
Octatvia Clay said her 6-year-old son Tyreik picked out a remote-controlled car and a couple of other toys Monday that’ll complement the scooter with light-up wheels she bought him for Christmas. A SHOPO Nation regular, she said he looks forward every day to the breakfast and fun at the community center next door to their apartment building.
“Every day when he wakes up, he’s going straight to the window and look down here to see if he can see Mr. BB’s car,” she said. “He’s like, ‘Momma, I’ve gotta get dressed so I can go to the center!’… The kids love it.”
Besides the gifts, volunteers handed out donated bags of food and snacks for kids to take home with them. Shavers traveled out into the Lynchburg with a handful of little helpers to distribute leftover bags of food and gifts into different neighborhoods in the city — what he termed “being a blessing.”