93rd Children's Christmas Party

On December 10, 2012, the "Downtown" Kiwanis Club of Oklahoma City, the first in Oklahoma City, held its 93rd Children's Christmas Party at Andrew Johnson Elementary.  Originally a party for underprivileged youth, the format, targeted area populations and locations have changed slightly; however, attendance by the club members has not.  The Christmas party is historically the club's most attended event.  This year's party included children from Johnson, Martin Luther King Jr., Ridge View and Rancho Village Elementary Schools. 

Teachers briefly describe the children, offer a suggested gift list, and often attach a photo.  Randall Stoner, party co-chair, gathers the lists and passes them on to members.  Sometimes puzzled members search several stores and online to locate the perfect gift.  The stocking stuffing party, hosted by Randall and Brenda Stoner at their Edmond home, preceded the event.  Party co-chairs are Randall Stoner and Lucien Jones.

Members stuff stockings with a dollar, fruit and candy at an annual stuffing party at a member’s home, Randall Stoner’s in 2012.  On the party date, members come early to the school to enjoy a catered lunch and then serve cake and ice cream, hand out gifts and clean up.  The club funds its children’s activities through its Kiwanis Special Activity Fund, to which members give at least $400 a year.

Kiwanians, guests and spouses arrive early to eat barbeque and visit.  By the time children arrive, gifts are lined up, Chester the Clown is present, and everyone awaits cues from perennial emcee Lucien Jones.  Once Santa appears, Jones dispatches members, like well-trained elves, to pass out presents and stockings, serve cake and ice cream and clean up.  Records dating from1919 show that this is most highly attended service activity of the club.

Among the photos in the slideshow:  Guess which captions match which photo!   

Randall Stoner; Elijah Molett; Lily Molett; and Santa, aka Kraettli Epperson, president of the Kiwanis Club of Oklahoma City, strike a happy pose.

Students Danny Howard III and Aliyah Khalid smile after opening gifts as Santa Claus; member Lucien Jones, emcee; and Rancho Village teacher Rikki Abrams stand behind them.

Members Jim Vogt, Steve Slawson, Philip Busey Jr. and Bill Price pass out drinks.

Members John Covington, Fletcher Williams and the Honorable Noma D. Gurich, Justice, Oklahoma Supreme Court expertly cut and serve cake for 100 attendees.

Grant Eisner, John Martin and Reese Van Horn prepare to pass out wrapped gifts.

OU CKI members Krishna Suthar and Patra Kositchaiwat talk to Bob Sonnenfeld, the oldest member of the Kiwanis Club of Oklahoma City--and also one of the most active!

 Santa "Epperson" with Kyle McLain, two of the Downtown Club's members with big hearts for youths.