We here at G.O. Community Development Corporation are thankful for our record setting 17.8k website visitors. Maybe next year we can reach 100k.
ISAIAH SALTERS, recreation center director at G.O. Development Corp., gets the music started during the organization's 19th annual Christmas Party in Ashtabula
ASHTABULA — Area residents gathered Saturday afternoon to celebrate Christmas and reach out a hand to those in need.
“We probably have 400 people. We have an overflow crowd,” said John Salters, co-founder of G.O. Development Corp.
“This might be the biggest ever,” Salters said as he guided volunteers to bring more chairs to the gymnasium so people could sit down to eat their meal.
Chairs were getting scarce because of the large turnout that wound through the western side of the building to pick up hot dogs and holiday treats.
Salters said it was the 19th edition of the Christmas party that he founded with his wife Mae almost two decades ago.
After visitors ate their fill, Salters rose to the stage and thanked those who made the day possible and reminded people that the birthday of Jesus Christ is the reason for Christmas.
“Let’s give Jesus a hand,” Salters said before handing the microphone to his son Isaiah to lead a music portion of the program.
Anna Cothrum, of Ashtabula, said she enjoys coming to the party to provide something special to her granddaughter and children.
Two dozen volunteers helped make the event possible, according to several people involved in the planning of the event.
“I love being around people ... I love seeing kids grow up and I love giving,” said LIllie Lathan who was one of the volunteers.
Isaiah Salters said the day is especially meaningful to him. “It’s special to me because it is something that my mother started,” he said of Mae Salters who died earlier this year.
Isaiah said there were several guests that attended the event to reach out to area residents.
“It’s (the party) so important. There are a lot of families that don’t get to celebrate Christmas like other families,” he said. Isaiah Salters said each of the children would receive a gift.
When the Salters asked for five children to volunteer to come on stage there was almost a stampede.
Two different sets of children got to participate through wishing guests a Merry Christmas and singing Christmas carols.
ASHTABULA — Shae Ballard is pumped up for Saturday’s G.O. Community Development Christmas party.
The party will include a free meal, gifts for the children, fellowship and a reminder that Jesus is the reason for the season, said Ballard, a board member.
This will be the 19th year G.O. Community Development celebrates Christmas, helping families who are struggling to have a merry Christmas. It has grown each year, Ballard said.
It will take place at the G.O. Community Development building at 3703 Station Ave. (the former Thurgood Marshall Elementary School).
Volunteers, young and old, will bring in gifts, prepare and serve the food.
“All of the children will get a gift, a good gift,” Ballard said. “A lot of children don’t get Christmas presents. We have had many gifts donated by Ashtabula County residents and Toys for Tots.”
Last year, the Rev. John Salters, board member and co-founder of G.O. Community Development, took the children on stage to sing Christmas carols as about 300 party-goers sang along.
“It’s wonderful,” Salters said. “We always have an enthusiastic crowd.”
Santa is expected to arrive with candy canes, Ballard said.
Hot dogs, sloppy joes and chips will be served.
“We always have 250 to 300 kids,” she said. “It’s such fun.”
Salters credits the board of directors for the annual party’s success.