By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Christmas is still more than two months away, but one Bensonhurst-based charity organization is already gearing up for an annual holiday event it sponsors.
Reaching-Out Community Services Inc. (RCS), which runs a food pantry on New Utrecht Avenue, is organizing its Operation Christmas Smiles party for underprivileged children and is looking for volunteers and sponsors.
“I know this is early for many, but here at RCS there’s a lot to do now to get ready for this event,” RCS Executive Director Thomas Neve wrote in an email to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle on Monday.
Neve said RCS is seeking at least 50 volunteers to offer assistance on the day of the party, which is scheduled to take place on Dec. 21. The volunteers will be divided into two groups on party day: those who will wear costumes to entertain the children; and others who will help facilitate the various activities at the event.
“As many know, we provide this event party for over 600 low income children. There are so many fun activities about the event to mention right now. But I can say, it's one of the best parties a child can be invited to,” Neve wrote.
RCS is also seeking sponsors, both individual and corporate, to help underwrite the costs of the party. “With the help of those who will help sponsor this event, it will once again bring smiles to the children from families facing hardship,” Neve wrote.
Anyone interesting in becoming a volunteer for Operation Christmas Smiles is asked to contact RCS by email at [email protected].
In addition to the food pantry it operates at its headquarters at 7708 New Utrecht Ave., Reaching-Out Community Services Inc., a non-profit organization, helps down on their luck residents with referrals to Medicaid, Social Security and other government programs.
The RCS food pantry is open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m.-4 p.m., according to foodpantries.org.
In recent months, RCS has held a walk-a-thon to raise money to end hunger and collected hundreds of backpacks to donate to school children.
The “Big Backpack Giveaway Event” took place on Aug. 24 outside RCS headquarters.
“We’re trying to ease the pain for parents who can’t afford to buy school supplies for their kids. When you can’t afford to buy food to feed your family, you can’t afford to get school supplies,” Neve told the Brooklyn Daily Eagle prior to the event.