East brings holiday cheer to children again through FOP

Meghna Kothari ('15)/ For Eastside

Lights being hung up, the smell of hot cocoa, people seeming happier than usual; it is clear that the holidays are coming, filling everyone with good spirit. Students at East participating in FOP have even more to look forward to since they will be celebrating the holidays with some very special kids.

FOP is a club at East where every year students put on an annual holiday party for underprivileged and special needs children. FOP stands for Fraternal Order of the Police, which sponsors the party each year. This year’s party will take place on December 17 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, which annually hosts the party.

Students spend about two months having meetings after school and occasionally at night where they make decorations that will surely put the children in a cheerful holiday spirit.

Then, a night before the party, students gather at Crowne Plaza to set up for the party. They hang decorations, set the tables with snacks and create an atmosphere that will ensure the children have a great time.

One of the chairmen, Emma Haught (’13) said, “[On the day of the party] there will be some awesome music, dancing, food, hundreds of crayons donated for the kids to color with, and of course an appearance from Santa Claus!”

Students are taken to the hotel during school on the day of the party. At the party, a few students are assigned to each table where they socialize and dance with the children. In fact, some students even volunteer to dress up as characters, such as Winnie the Pooh, and interact with the children.

“It’s great for the special needs kids to interact with the East students, but it’s also great for the East students to see that the special needs kids are not much different from themselves,” said Haught.