The Scotland County NAACP will once again allow children to realize their holiday fantasies with its annual Christmas Wonderland today.
The event will be held from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. at the National Guard Armory on Main Street in Laurinburg.
“The children always look forward to it,” said State Rep. Garland Pierce, former president of the Scotland County NAACP. “We have so many toys and gifts and watching the children lined up and their anticipation and excitement in selecting their gift is visible.”
Christmas Wonderland is open to any child who wishes to participate. More than 500 children have attended the annual event in the past, and the NAACP is again prepared to offer lunch, a gift, and a visit with Santa Claus to every child in the hall.
“We pretty much serve all the students in Scotland County and those that know about it try to get here and be a part of it,” said Terence Williams, president-elect of the NAACP chapter. “We see these kids so much every day; these are our families, these are our neighbors, these are our friends… We all have to learn how to live together harmoniously to the point that we can be a successful community.”
Representatives from the Scotland County sheriff’s office and Laurinburg Police Department will also participate in order to show a friendly face to the children and young people present. AT&T and Food Lion are also among the Christmas Wonderland sponsors.
“Many people see law enforcement as someone who is always bothering them,” said chapter president Robert Malloy. “In this instance, they can see the other side, where not only law enforcement but other agencies are really assisting us and volunteering their time and effort. It always gives on a different outlook - we all need a different outlook on each other from time to time to aid us in working together.”
With donations of canned goods from Campbell’s Soup, the organization hopes to send families home with pantry-stuffers as well as stocking-stuffers.
“Now that the economy is as bad as it is, you never know what is or isn’t in someone’s home,” said Malloy. “As long as you can do something in addition to that, it’s a benefit.”
Christmas Wonderland has been held annually for nearly 15 years, and the NAACP’s current leadership hopes that the tradition will continue far into the future.
“They see us doing it now, hopefully when they get to be our age they’ll do the same thing in the future when it’s their turn to be in leadership roles,” Pierce said.