By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Christmas came more than four months early to a group of Coney Island kids, thanks to the Police Athletic League (PAL) and the Brooklyn Cyclones, who co-hosted a “holiday” party at MCU Ball Park on a recent Friday afternoon.
So what if Christmas isn’t until December? That’s doesn’t mean children should have to wait to celebrate, right?
The PAL-Brooklyn Cyclones “Christmas in Summertime” party, which was also sponsored by Lend Lease, allowed hundreds of kids, ages 6 to 16, to spend the day playing kick ball, competing in potato sack races, participating in an obstacle course on the ball field, and enjoying a fun-filled carnival.
While the party was fun, it also had a serious purpose, according to PAL officials. Many of the youngsters missed out on celebrating Christmas in December 2012 because their homes had been destroyed or damaged by Superstorm Sandy.
In the aftermath of the storm, PAL set up heated tents with recreational activities to offer children an opportunity to take a break from the stress they were experiencing during the recovery efforts. Children and their families had a place to socialize and get their minds off the destruction and the recovery efforts after the storm, PAL officials said.
“In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, many children from Coney Island were unable to celebrate the holidays with their families,” said Richard Guevara, Director of Field Operations for PAL.
“With the help of Lend Lease, MCU Park and the Brooklyn Cyclones, PAL was able to return to Coney Island to provide ‘Christmas in Summertime,’ giving kids the holiday that they deserve,” Guevara said.
At the “Christmas in Summertime” event, children won free tickets to Brooklyn Cyclones games, Luna Park, and the New York Aquarium. They enjoyed hot dogs, hamburgers, pizza, cotton candy and popcorn, and left with book bags filled with school supplies and goodies.