Community donations make for successful 16th annual Lunch with Santa

Commissioners Schuster and Augerot with "Santa Claus"
Thursday, January 11, 2018

The Benton County Juvenile Department held the 16th annual Lunch with Santa on December 16, 2017 at the Sunset Building. The event is a holiday-themed luncheon that provides a hot meal, presents and a photo with Santa to families in need. At the 2017 event, ten youths and their families were invited to participate.

“The Lunch with Santa event is about giving, but also accountability,” said Matt Wetherell, Juvenile Department director. “Youths that are on supervision and have been successful through the year are invited to participate. The event reinforces the idea that positive experiences happen when you do the right thing.”

When invited to the event, the youth and families are asked to provide lists of needed items, mostly clothing and day-to-day items, and the Juvenile Department gets as many items as possible.

The event could not be possible without the generous donations of individuals and community organizations. Squirrel’s Tavern donated drinks and salad; Papa’s Pizza donated pizza; Jackson Street Youth Services donated blankets, jackets, and hygiene products; Vina Moses donated food boxes; and, Kohl’s in Albany provided a 25% discount on items purchased there.

Following the luncheon, the youths and families are given the opportunity to have their picture taken with Santa and they receive their gifts.

“This event is a fun, family experience and allows for everyone involved—from our county staff to the youths—to share in the spirit and joy of the holiday season. We are very grateful for the many donations that make it possible for us to host this event,” said Wetherell.