Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1298 hosted its fourth annual “Cookies With Santa” event for the community Sunday afternoon with some large changes from previous years.
In order to meet public health guidelines, children were not able to sit on Santa’s lap for pictures.
However, that did not prevent Christmas cheer from being present at the post as families were still able to drive through and get pictures with Santa, his helpers and with the Grinch while being appropriately socially distanced.
“We knew we couldn’t do something inside this year,” Event Organizer Robin Skaggs said. “We usually have this whole place turned into a winter wonderland. But we decided this year that we would add the Grinch because it is 2020 and everything is crazy. So, he seemed like the perfect add-on this year.”
“As far as the drive through, we know that there is a lot of kids who are not going to be able to visit Santa this year,” Skaggs continued. “While they can’t sit on his lap as we are social distancing, they do get the opportunity to get their pictures with him.”
A picture with Santa and his friends was not the only thing attendees walked away with Sunday.
Children were also treated to free toys and cookies by VFW volunteers who walked the gifts out to vehicles.
Toys were given to kids based on their age and gender. In previous years, children were allowed to walk in and pick out their own toys.
“It’s been hard,” Skaggs said of this year’s changes. “I’m not going to lie. It’s hard to get in the spirit. Normally we wait a bit closer to Christmas so everyone is more in the mood, but we just decided that the community needed something nice now.”
The event first began four years ago after Skaggs was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer and was only given 11 months to live.
According to her, Skaggs then decided to start the event as a way to give back to the community.
It was a quick success for the VFW, and “Cookies With Santa” has been a yearly event ever since with Skaggs still leading the way.
“I’ve had a bunch of people help this year, and I always do, which is nice. It’s been great, but it’s been hard at the same time. It’s been hard to get that Christmas spirit this year with everything going on. We are just hoping for the best.”