Dozens of youngsters enjoyed fun and games and even got a chance to visit with Santa Claus during a special Christmas program at New Vision Church in Thomson on Saturday.
This year's theme was Winter Wonderland.
"We wanted to provide an opportunity where we could meet and greet a lot of people in the community and let them know what we, as a church, offer," said Marilyn Norris, the administrative assistant at the church. "Since it is Christmas, we thought it would be the perfect time to do this."
The three-hour program at the church at 317 W. Hill St. was attended by groups from Augusta, including the Young Leaders of Augusta, Amerigroup Community Care, a representative of Mary Kay Cosmetics and author Marcie Curry, who shared comments about her new book, Be A Strong Blessing . The event also brought out Lady Bug the Clown.
"We really enjoyed doing this," said Ray Cummings, one of Santa Claus' newest helpers. "This was a way for us to help bring our community together in a positive way. We wanted to show that since we're so blessed that we reached out to others to share those blessings and God's love with them."
Mr. Cummings, a Thomson resident, works at Temple-Inland. A member of Springfield Baptist Church in Thomson, he is assisting the Rev. Tommy Burgess Jr. as a male mentor at New Vision Church.
"It's a real blessing to me, personally, to be part of this ministry," Mr. Cummings said. "I also enjoyed playing Santa Claus. I'm 50 years old, and that's the first time I've ever been asked to play Santa Claus. It was a lot of fun."
The Christmas program also provided an opportunity for Ms. Curry to promote her new book about people who have survived breast cancer.
The book, which was self-published, came off the press in October and was dedicated to Ms. Curry's aunt, Vanessa Curry, of Augusta, who died of breast cancer on Oct. 1, 2007. It can be purchased at the Medical College of Georgia's Cancer Boutique for $12.99.
"I'm very proud that it's been finally published," Ms. Curry said. "It took 81/2 months to research and actually write it."
Ms. Curry's sister, Daveda Malone, of Hephzibah, a director with Mary Kay Cosmetics, also attended. Ms. Malone talked about how the company she represents helps raise money for the American Cancer Society to help fight breast cancer.
"We contribute a large sum of money every year toward this very worthy cause," Ms. Malone said.
All during the program, children visited with Santa Claus -- many of them sitting in his lap and telling him what they would like for Christmas. Gifts were given each child by church members.