Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Last Christmas

I received a message while I was out of my office last week. A lady had come into the Center to speak to me about a picture that I had taken last Christmas. Every year the community center where I work holds a toy giveaway to families in the surrounding area. Approximately a hundred or so families come through on that day to get free toys donated by individuals and businesses. Everybody contributes to make this event possible. For example, a student who attends the continuation high school at the Center volunteered to don a white beard and costume to play Santa Claus. A mother who used to run an aerobics class at the Center painted the backdrop. The firemen down the street collected and delivered the toys. Blanca, the office manager, along with my staff and volunteers worked at the registration table to made sure that everyone is orderly. Luis, a kid in my after school program, posed as a Christmas present for the picture taking session. As usual, I was behind the camera. After the children received their toys, they were given the opportunity to take a family picture with Santa Claus to commemorate the joyous occasion. Some of the guests come back a week later to pick up their picture. Others do not. This picture you see here has been buried in my hard drive amongst hundreds of other nameless images, untouched and forgotten until now. What I did not know when this picture was taken was that the father in this family was going through cancer treatment at the time. Sadly to say, he was not able to survive long enough to celebrate Christmas with his family this year. It's especially hard during this time of the year. The wife had come back to the community center in hopes that we still have the picture from last Christmas. I am happy to say that the children have that picture now. And though it may not bring back their father, I am hopeful it will bring back some happy memories to what turned out to be the last Christmas they spent together.

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