In the days leading up to Christmas, Little Rock was buzzing with socially distant activities including parades and toy drives.
On Dec. 17, individuals and businesses dropped off presents for children who are housed at the Centers for Youth & Families. Each year, the Centers serves about 6,500 people. The group's programs include three residential treatment homes in Little Rock and one in Monticello for youth healing from the trauma of abuse and neglect.
The Centers provides a safe living space and therapy for survivors of human trafficking; a day school for children struggling behaviorally or mentally; a therapeutic foster care program that trains families who foster children who need extra support; outpatient counseling for families and other services.
On Dec. 20, Santa made a visit to the Pleasant Valley neighborhood, a trip that had been postponed the weekend before due to the threat of rain. Santa, played by Little Rock lawyer Robert Newcomb, set up shop at St. James United Methodist Church in his shiny red truck for a drive-thru visit with the jolly old elf.
The event was sponsored by the Pleasant Valley Neighborhood Association and benefited the Ozark Mission Project.
-- Story and photos by Rachel O'Neal and Special to the Democrat-Gazette