In 1995 Mike Smith and several of his friends decided that rather than spending money on each other at Christmas time, they would pool together their resources and help some children in need; their quest began with 30 families. Since 1995 Joy has helped approximately 65 families each year, ones that would likely not have Christmas otherwise, and invite them to a Christmas Day celebration. Local restaurants donate food for the party, and the children visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus who bring gifts and necessities.
The families are entertained by live music, caroling, face painting, crafts, pirate invasion, and clowns. The children receive clothing, a backpack, school supplies, toiletries, books, a blanket, sheets, a pillow, and toys, all purchased specifically for each child based on their age, gender, size, interests, and hobbies.
Several hundred volunteers assist Joy in every step of the production. Volunteers coordinate logistics, shop, wrap presents, and decorate for the party. Over 50 volunteers come on Christmas Day to help at the party; some work in the kitchen, and some provide one-on-one service to assigned families for the day. Joy serves only children from Nassau County. To volunteer or contribute to Joy, visit www.joytothechildren.org.