Sunset Park turned out in droves Saturday at the Rec Center a gift and chance for a Polaroid with Santa at Health Plus‘s annual Holiday Celebration. The line snaked out the door for the lucky who had made the cut around 3:30pm when the event began to wind down.
An estimated 1,500 to 2,000 locals showed up the gift-giveaway and holiday event, according to Kenesha Nelson, special events manager at Health Plus. Established at Sunset Park’s Lutheran Hospital in 1984, Health Plus has a large client base in the community. The managed care organization advertised the event by sending mailings to members, posting flyers in the neighborhood and giving the heads-up to schools.
“It’s just one more way Health Plus is giving back to the community,” said Julio Coronel, Health Plus regional marketing director.
Limited supplies forced organizers to turn some latecomers away at the door.
Those who made it inside waited patiently for their turn to pick a gift (puzzles, mini basketballs and trucks were some of the top choices) as well as a 20Q game and soft toys and picture frames adorned with the Health Plus logo. A few parents comforted Santa-wary children.
One mother came with her four children, each of whom picked something up at the event. She asked her son if he liked his gift. He thought about it for a minute, and answered, “Si!” Two older girls, regulars at the rec center, came early to grab the good stuff–one straight from a test to get into middle school.
At 4:10pm, a few stragglers huddled by the strollers outside, waiting for their families to wrap things up at the party and head home, in from the chilly winter afternoon.