Nafessa Jaigirdar ('19)
The Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) held its annual holiday party on Monday, December 17, at the Crowne Plaza from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., with volunteers from Cherry Hill High Schools East and West.
With children ranging from two-years-old up to seventeen-years-old, everyone had a great time at this party hosted by the FOP. The party was a big hit, with attendees jamming out to their favorite songs all day long. The Philly Phanatic even made an appearance to the delight of the myriad baseball fans in the room.
“The whole experience makes me feel good and as though I was really making a difference in these kids lives, or even making their day,” said Mikey Bellino (‘19), Co-Overall of FOP.
The day started with all of the volunteers from Cherry Hill East and West anxiously waiting for the guests of honor, the children. There was an eruption of applause from the 170 volunteers standing around the room when the schools entered one by one. The cheering was a delightful way to welcome the FOP party guests.
The volunteers from East were thrilled to be participating in this special event.
“The event brings people together from all over, no matter how different they may be; it is always a great time,” said Anthony Gambino (‘19).
Along with the dancing and singing in the ballroom, the Santa Room was also a hotspot of the party. The Santa Room was embellished with paper snowflakes hanging from the ceiling, intricate holiday art, and of course Santa. The children adored this fun and festive room.
All of the children lined up to get their chance to talk to Santa, telling him what they wanted this holiday season. East’s very own School Security Personnel, Mr. Robert Menta, was this year’s jolly Saint Nick, as he has been for the past 20 years.
“I will play Santa for them as long as I am physically able to,” wrote Menta, “My heart goes out to these challenged children and their families for the suffering they endure and I believe that the caretakers of these children are true angels for the patience they have.”
At the party, the guests were served snacks, lunch, and drinks. Besides dancing on the dance floor or talking to Santa, the FOP guests also had
the opportunity to color and pet service dogs.
“Dancing was my favorite part of the event. I felt I was able to better connect with the kids and brighten their day” said Annie Dollarton (‘21). Alongside the high school students dancing with the kids, there were many students dressed up as holiday characters such as Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer and Frosty the Snowman.
Additionally, the students mimes from Cherry Hill East’s Mime Company were in attendance. The mimes definitely kept the crowd entertained and laughing.
“I had so much fun being a mime at the FOP party. I really got to connect with some of the kids. I danced with one girl and every time I spun her she laughed and clapped,” said mime Hailee Conners (‘22). It was incredible seeing the joy this event brought to the kids. I can’t wait to participate again next year.”
The FOP party was a success and gave the guests and the volunteers a wonderful opportunity to spread holiday joy.
“The whole experience was worth it… I am glad I could be apart of FOP” said Caryn Petrone (‘19).