ISAIAH SALTERS, recreation center director at G.O. Development Corp., gets the music started during the organization's 19th annual Christmas Party in Ashtabula
“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.