TLC Community Center to hold annual ‘Sensitive Santa’

Published 8:17 am Tuesday, December 10, 2019

The TLC Community Center is inviting the community to its annual Dinner with Santa this evening, continuing its almost 20-year Christmas tradition.

Director Angie Odom said part of the evening’s celebration is a special “Sensitive Santa” hour, when children with sensory issues can have private, one-on-one sessions with Santa.

“We put Santa in the back town,” Odom said. “The lights are dimmed, and they get one-on-one time with Santa.”

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She said a special event like this is crucial for many children, for whom a seemingly simple trip to the mall can be complicated.

“I know how a simple trip to the mall is a big deal,” she said. “People fail to recognize kids with sensory issues cannot handle these things.”

The Sensitive Santa is but a part of a several hours Christmas celebration at the center, during which families eat food and spend time with each other. Children can take free pictures with Santa, and every family who attends will leave with a Bundle of Love.

Over the years since starting this annual event, Odom said she loves what the event represents for the center. The center’s first adoptees sometimes attend the events to this day.

“I always held that first Christmas as special,” Odom said. “Seeing the [first] children attend with their own children, it is unbelievable.”

The dinner has been such a staple of the center, Odom said the event has become a sign the holidays themselves have begun.

“It makes it a very special time,” Odom said. “It is the whole setting. It is what makes Christmas so exciting.”

Odom said the event is a fun time for all families who are interested.

“If they are looking for a fun, family time with food, they should come out,” she said. “We are also in need of volunteers.”

She said volunteers will gather to begin preparing the food at around 10:30 a.m. The event itself will run from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m., while the Sensitive Santa portion will take up the first hour.

Those interested in volunteering or attending can find the TLC Community Center at 145 Judge Don Lewis Blvd.