| Santa Claus stops for pancake breakfast in Vacaville
The children-crafted decorations were hung in the McBride Senior Center with care, in hopes that St. Nicholas would soon be there.
The eager children weren’t nestled or snug in their beds, they were there for breakfast dressed in white, green and red.
Families spilled into the local senior center as the aroma of pancakes and sausage circulated through the air Saturday morning.
For recreation coordinator Penny Hernandez, the opportunity to host the annual event for families is accented by the volunteer efforts of her own family. With much-appreciated assistance from her husband Joe Hernandez in the kitchen, Penny was able to host the North Pole native for the sixth straight year.
“It’s a family event for me too,” Hernandez said. “My husband and children volunteer to make all the pancakes and sausage. I couldn’t be more proud that my family supports the community as well as me. When you work in recreation your family becomes part of your job.”
While the 125-plus people signed up for the breakfast with Santa, the gathering is an annual fundraiser that benefits the Children Corner Preschool. With the assistance of Will C. Wood High School’s Interact Club and Service Leadership, children created colorful crafts that they could take home.
For the sixth straight year, Vacaville mother Heather Bell and her oldest daughter Hailey, 6, stopped by to reconvene with Santa. After requesting baby dolls in past visits, Hailey asked Santa for a play highchair that her “babies” can use.
Although the 6-year-old enjoyed her pancakes and orange juice, Hailey’s advice to children who haven’t taken part was simple.
“There will be Santa Claus,” she said. “I like meeting Santa a lot and love the presents.”
But when it comes to the reasoning for Vacaville mother Heather, her rationale is more strategic given the wait and headache often involved with gatherings such as this.
“It gets expensive trying to go take pictures with Santa,” she said. “So it’s nice to come here and have a little breakfast. The kids don’t have to stay seated, they can move around and get involved with the arts and crafts.”
Jason Lares and his wife brought their two daughters to the Breakfast with Santa for the first time this year. As his daughters Elizabeth, 7, and Kamila, 4, shared their Christmas morning hopes with Santa, Lares shed light on how important this morning was for his daughters and how important chances like this our for children like his.
“It’s all about the kids,” Lares said. “Last night, my little ones were excited about coming here. We really appreciate the fact that they have events like this throughout the community. It shows just how much the community cares about the kids.”
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