The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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December 10, 2012

Trojan Family Christian to aid less fortunate

JOHNSTOWN — Christmas giving will be overflowing at an upcoming local event.

For the second year, a Trojan Family Christmas will be presented at Greater Johnstown High School, 222 Central Ave., Johnstown.

The free family program will start at 4:30 p.m. Dec. 20 and include a Christmas dinner, caroling, crafts, activities, door prizes and a visit from Santa.

The event is sponsored by Greater Johnstown School District board of directors, the office of Rep. Bryan Barbin, D-71, and the City of Johnstown, said Alanna Wilson, legislative assistant at Barbin’s office, 413 Main St. in downtown Johnstown.

“We had done fundraisers together and thought about doing something like this,” Wilson said.

“Last year, we had way more people come than we expected, more than 400, which is good.

“This is for low-income children who don’t get the traditional Christmas like people might think.”

While the program is geared toward Johnstown students of any age, no one will be turned away no matter what school they attend.

“If they want to bring their friends from another school, that’s fine,” Wilson said.

“I’ve had people saying it’s either the turkey or the gifts. We don’t want them to have to decide.”

Last year, the traditional Christmas dinner featured turkey with all the trimmings provided by Greater Johnstown alumni LaRod Stephens-Howling, who is a running back with the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals.

This year, he will be joined by another Trojans alumnus, Antwuan Reed, in providing the meal.

Stephens-Howling will bring some Arizona Cardinals’ gear that will be used as door prizes.

All students must be accompanied by a parent or guardian to be admitted.

Reservations are requested by Dec. 18, not only for the dinner, but for volunteers who will serve and man the various stations.

“Reservations are crucial,” Wilson said.

“We threw this together in two weeks last year, but this year, we took more time to plan.”

Guests will enter the school through the auditorium and continue on to various activities taking place at different sites.

Last year, there was cookie making in the culinary arts room, ornament making in the library, story reading outside the auditorium and dinner in the cafeteria.

“Toward the end, Santa came on his sleigh, and we recited ‘The Night Before Christmas,’ ” Wilson said. “Every child got to sit on his lap.”

Anyone wishing to donate toys may drop them off at the school or Barbin’s office.

“It can be something small,” Wilson said. “Anything will be accepted. They can give money for toys, and we’ll buy them.

“We want people to remember what Christmas is about – giving.”

For the kids

What: A Trojan Family Christmas.

Where: Greater Johnstown High School auditorium, 222 Central Ave., Johnstown.

When: 4:30 p.m. Dec. 20.

Admission: Free.

Reservations: By Dec. 18.

Information: 536-9818 or email awilson@pahouse.net.

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