SE treats area shelter to holiday cheer, meal

By Samantha Sutton/reporter

Residents of the Arlington Life Shelter were treated to their 18th annual Holiday Feast and Fellowship Program on SE Campus Nov. 26.

“My hope for the families is that they see TCC is here for anyone and everyone,” said student services director Doug Peak as he welcomed the guests. “We are a caring institution that cares deeply about its community.”

Student volunteers dressing as elves brought plates of holiday favorites to about 50 families who attended.

SE student Cleveland Pham said this was his first time to serve at the holiday dinner.

“I wanted to give back to the community and saw this as the perfect opportunity,” he said.

Government associate professor Dene McArthur, another volunteer, said her classes focus on public policy and often discuss hunger and poverty in Texas. Her concern for the hungry drew her to volunteer in this event and hopefully involve her students in the future.

“One in six people are food-insecure, and as high as this number is, statistics show the rate of impoverished people is increasing,” McArthur said. “I am happy to involve myself in anything that is working to decrease those numbers.”

As the attendees finished their meals, student volunteers who were dressed as familiar Christmas characters surprised the children.

Mrs. Claus and Frosty the Snowman showed up to dance with the children and read them a story.

Afterward, Santa arrived with elves and reindeer to deliver gifts of new and gently used toys donated by students from all TCC campuses.

Leftover food and toys were sent to the shelter for those who couldn’t attend.

“There is nothing better than seeing the look on the children’s faces when they see Santa, Frosty or Mrs. Claus,” Peak said. “And their reaction to receiving a gift? Priceless.”