Pictured: The 2022 Polar Express Event.
Photo courtesy of the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District
For the ninth year in a row, Santa’s sled will back up to the Brookside School, in Merrick on Dec. 9 filled to the brim with gifts for children of all ages.
More than 1,000 toys and gifts are waiting to be distributed to local children in need this holiday season. These youngsters, throughout Nassau County and Long Island, along with their families, have been invited to the ninth annual holiday “Polar Express” train-themed event hosted by the Lions Club District 20K2 of Nassau County & Bermuda.
Embracing the Lion’s motto of “We Serve,” club members and their families from clubs throughout Long Island, have been gathering gifts and donations for weeks under the direction and guidance of Lion Past District Governor, Nina Lanci, who has chaired the event for the past nine years.
“There are families struggling in our area to put food on their table every day, and now, with so many families hit hard by rising prices, this event has become even more important,” stated Lanci. “This day also gives parents, many who may be out of work or working two and three jobs just to support their family, the gift necessary to make their child’s holiday a happy one.”
Lanci, who serves as a trustee on both the North Bellmore elementary and Central High School District boards of education, and her team of volunteers have collected more than 1,000 gifts that include new toys, warm jackets, pajamas, gloves and more to distribute to those in need this holiday season.
All schools and several clubs, as well as community organizations, have donated or volunteered for this effort.
The Lions Club Holiday Polar Express event for children is a free event by invitation only, and in years’ past, the Lions have hosted close to 800 children at the event that begins at 10 a.m.