BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Biloxi Elks Lodge #606 had a special Christmas event for some special children Wednesday. There was a big parade to get to a big party.
The Elks Lodge has been doing this Christmas service for exceptional children for 60 years, and organizers say it is a joy, every single time.
Twelve buses full of children from the Harrison County Child Development Center received a huge escort/parade from the Biloxi Fire Department, Biloxi Police, and Mississippi Highway Patrol on the way to the Biloxi Elks Lodge. There, Santa was in the house and helped friends and families enjoy special entertainment by the students, food, and presents.
Because of donations, auctions and raffles throughout the year, every one of the 120 children who came to the party got a present this year.
David Poulos has been chairman of the event for 37 years.
"People don't realize how important it is to make sure that these kids have a good Christmas... and just to be lucky enough that their kids are not in this party."
The event has been a godsend for Vicki P. Carter, principal of the Harrison County Child Development Center for 15 years.
"The kindness, the generosity the support we receive from the Elks Club is commendable," she said. "They are giving... our children, as you can see, look forward to this every year. I can't tell you the impact that the Elks Club has had through the years on this school."
It also has special meaning to Eva Stockstill. Twenty-four years ago, her son, Rusty Fultz, was a beneficiary of this generosity. And now, she's a member of the Elks.
"My child has blossomed," she said. "He's gotten to enjoy warmth, and comfort, and Christmas and a lot of love from the community. ... And now I'm working on trying to get him to become a big part of the Elks so that he in turn can give back to the community as they gave to him growing up."