HOPE Christmas Party Enjoys the Holiday Spirit

Lining Up for Burgers



Take about 150 excited elementary and middle school students on a Thursday, add holiday music, barbecued hamburgers and cheeseburgers, macaroni salad and brownies, ice cream, whipped cream and candy sprinkles, plus presents…and you get a Christmas party at the HOPE Center in the former Lincoln Elementary School in Lamar.

And Now it’s Dessert!

Karen Voepel, Executive Director of the Share the Spirit Foundation, Colorado Mills in Lamar and Lori Hammer and staff at the HOPE Center, hosted the annual event for the youngsters on Thursday, December 6th.  It was loud, hectic and a lot of fun.  Students lined up by grades and filtered into the holiday-decorated gym where they got their meal, served and cooked by volunteers.

Voepel said, “We’ve been doing this for eight years now and we had about 40 students at the party the first time. Last year we had 70 kids and the numbers literally doubled to around 150 this year.”  She thanked the volunteers as well as Colorado Mills for their food donations as well as the BBQ grills and employees who came out to cook.

Voeple said Leah Comer, known around Lamar for her generosity and crocheting talent, made hats and gloves for the students as part of their gift bags which would be distributed during the party. “We need to move things along today, as the student busses will be here at 5:30.”  She said her Foundation had made donations to about three to five families in need during the holidays, but it proved difficult to find the right match.  When Lori Hammer took over the HOPE Center at the Lincoln School, events fell into place and their alliance has worked well, benefitting hundreds of students since then.

Asher and Lori in Holiday Song

Hammer managed to quiet the young audience for a few moments to join in a sing-along of, “Frosty the Snowman”, led by Asher Esquivel. He started a little hesitant at first, but by the time he got to, “thumpety-thump-thump” Asher gave it all he got, signing off on the song with fists raised over his head in victory, accomplishment and happiness.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: City of LamarEntertainmentEventsFeaturedRecreationSchoolYouth


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