It is a pre-Christmas miracle!
A Bergen Beach couple, a Mill Basin restaurateur, and Santa Claus himself spread cheer to homeless families on Nov. 27. Moms and kids living at a Sheepshead Bay homeless shelter got a free dinner at Vikki’s Restaurant on Avenue N, and then Saint Nick passed out toys for all the boys and girls who might otherwise have had no Christmas at all. The joyous occasion brought tears to mothers’ eyes, organizers said.
“Some of the mothers cried, because they couldn’t believe how kind we were to them at this time of the holiday,” said Bergen Beacher Judy Newton, who organized the event alongside her husband Richard Baxt and said tykes couldn’t believe they got the gifts. “One kid said ‘I get to keep this?’ ”
Newton floated the idea of hosting a charitable dinner at other local venues, but she chose Vikki’s after owner Nick Cornalis offered the Bergen Beach woman and her less-fortunate friends a warm reception without any deprecating questions, Newton said.
“I also brought it to another restaurant in the area, and the first question was, ‘Do these people smell?’ ” she said. “The reason why I chose [Vikki’s] is we are regulars there, and Nick said it’s a great idea. He was extremely receptive.”
The families who feasted at Vikki’s were invited to order from the menu, and after dinner, the kids got to meet Santa and ask him all sorts of precocious queries, according to Kris Kringle.
“They wanted to know who my favorite elf and reindeer were — and where my sleigh was,” he recounted. “I told them it was up on the roof.”
After taking a seat on Santa’s lap, each kid got to take not one, but two toys that Newton and Baxt’s charitable Newton Foundation purchased.
Even the mothers in attendance didn’t go home empty-handed — the lovely ladies received gift bags and gift cards to make their holidays merry, Newton said.
“The mothers couldn’t believe their eyes,” she said. “We wanted them to feel a sense of decency and belonging in a community setting.”