By Kaylee Lindenmuth
GILBERTON - A group of community members from Frackville and Gilberton came together today to provide a joyful Christmas for a Gilberton family which suffered a loss in October.
Santa and Mrs. Claus visited the Brassington family on Christmas Eve, escorted by Frackville Police, to present the family with gifts and a Christmas dinner.
The family's matriarch, Vicki Brassington, passed away from lung cancer in October, and a Frackville Police officer and his wife were touched by their story and moved to help.
"Christmas is hard enough," said Heather Kankowski, who helped organize. "You want to make it a holiday, there's just so much sadness anymore. You want to make it good."
"Barry's story alone, it touched both of us," Kankowski added.
Heather and husband Tony, with the assistance of the police department, the Frackville Area Municipal Authority, Frackville Borough, local businesses, and other community members, helped provide Christmas dinner for Barry Brassington and children Kylie, Jake, both 7, and Brynlee, 1.
With Santa Claus, played by Frackville Public Works Director Donald Zimmerman, and Mrs. Claus, by Crissy Zimmerman, they delivered the dinner and gifts to the family at their home in Gilberton. Gift certificates were also donated from local businesses, including The Pizza Place, Frackville.
Tony Kankowski noted that the idea came about around Thanksgiving during the turkey giveaway hosted by the Frackville Elks, and added that the two hope to make an annual program to help a family in need for Christmas.
"We'd like to do more, but we're going to do one family per year," said Tony.
During the visit, Tony said "we wanted to make a nice Christmas for everybody here."
As Santa sat in the living room, Kylie gave him a letter to give to her mom. Asked by relative Sally Schweigert to show where her mom was, she pointed to the sky.
Santa assured her, "I'll make sure she gets this."
The children were then allowed to open one gift each, the rest would wait until Christmas morning.
A full photo gallery will be posted soon.
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