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ND Air Force ROTC spread holiday cheer

Liz Harter | Monday, December 4, 2006

A Field Day ushered in the Christmas season at Saint Mary’s Saturday as underprivileged children visited with Santa Claus and watched performances by the Undertones and the Notre Dame Pom Squad Saturday at Angela Athletic Facility.

Members of the Arnold Air Society (AAS), the service organization associated with Notre Dame Air Force ROTC, and the Silver Wings, the Arnold Air Society’s civilian counterpart, hosted the event.

Notre Dame junior Christine Rini, the organizer of the event and an AAS member, said the children came from various “centers” in the area.

“Some were from low-income families that go to after school programs,” Rini said. “Others were from homeless shelters, and some came from emotionally disturbed families.”

Volunteers from Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s assisted children with making gingerbread houses, decorating cookies, painting faces and making Popsicle stick reindeer.

The children had the opportunity to take their picture with Santa and then his elves handed out presents, Rini said. The presents the children received came from the Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots program. The AAS paid for everything else, including pizza, supplies and transportation. They hired a charter bus to transport children to and from the facility.

Rini said the Field Day had been in existence for approximately the past five years, but said this is only the second year the event was held in Angela Athletic Facility.

In the past, the Field Day was held at the Armory, but Rini said the distance from campus was a problem in getting volunteers from Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s.

“This location is excellent because the basketball court is a relatively closed-off area and it’s easier to get volunteers to come out [to help us],” Rini said.