Hebron Lodge Hosts Annual Christmas Party


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By Jennifer L. Warren

BEACON – Despite the seemingly overwhelming four tables full of toy-gift selection she was presented with, Rayne Rhodes, immediately zoned in on what she was seeking and proudly embraced it, a huge smile spreading across her face.

Rhodes, a three year old City of Beacon resident, was one of many children on hand at Saturday’s 15th Annual Prince Hall Hebron Lodge Holiday Party, once again held at the City’s Community Center. Here, for three hours, City of Beacon children had the opportunity to choose a holiday gift, one donated through the efforts of Lodge members themselves, Toys for Tots and a local veteran agency. Gift bags, containing treats and other tokens, were also provided to children, as was a festive ensemble of holiday melodies. The event, one of several held by the Lodge, is focused on improving the quality of life for residents in Beacon.

“We serve the less fortunate kids, and try to make an attempt so that no kid wakes up on Christmas day without knowing he or she has a gift,” said Aubrey Mitchell of the Hebron Lodge. “It works out very well, especially with the food pantry next door; it really helps us in getting a good turnout.”

Four year old Xavier Shields from the City of Beacon shows some of the toys he selected from Saturday’s Prince Hall Hebron Lodge’s 15th Annual Holiday Party. In addition to the large toy giveaway, the three hour event included grab bag treat packages, holiday music and plenty of cheer.
Four year old Xavier Shields from the City of Beacon shows some of the toys he selected from Saturday’s Prince Hall Hebron Lodge’s 15th Annual Holiday Party. In addition to the large toy giveaway, the three hour event included grab bag treat packages, holiday music and plenty of cheer.

Each Saturday morning at the Community Center, a food pantry supplies those in need with an assortment of fresh vegetables, fruits, meats, and other food items. Because the Children’s Holiday Party took place right after the Pantry’s conclusion, the timing for many was just right.

“The food pantry told me about the Holiday Party, and my son really loved that he can pick out his own toys; today he got Batman and Joker toys because he really likes to play with superheroes,” said Cecilia Smutney of the City of Beacon. “I really like how this allows him to have more toys for Christmas than he would otherwise have, as it can be hard this time of the year.”

In fact, not only did the Food Pantry help spread the word about the Holiday Party, some of its volunteers even assisted in both affairs. Kenya Gadsen of Fishkill and also a former City of Beacon School Board member who ran for Dutchess County Clerk was involved with both community events Saturday.

“Combining community resources to serve the community is what it’s all about, said Gadsen, who had just completed a Facebook Live segment of the Holiday Party, further spreading the word to residents.

Rhodes, clutching her cherished gift selection, was also holding a nail set for her sister Madison who was back home. Her mother Wendy Curtis, had chosen a soccer ball for her son, and expressed sheer gratitude for the Holiday Party and generosity of the Prince Hall Hebron Lodge members.

“The food pantry told us about this toy giveaway event, which made my daughter so happy,” said a smiling Curtis. “As soon as she walked into that room of toys, she knew right away what she wanted, and it made her so very happy to have it, which makes me so happy as well.”

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