The Fraternal Order of Eagles #97 generously donated Christmas presents for children served by The Arc, Oneida-Lewis Chapter’s Saturday Friends program. Saturday Friends is a bi-monthly respite program for families with children who have a developmental disability and their siblings, ages 5-10 and 11-14. The Eagles have hosted Christmas parties for the program in the past at their club in Utica, with food, entertainment, and gift-giving. This year’s get-together was canceled due to COVID-19 restrictions.


However, the members of the Eagles felt compelled to find an alternative way to give. They commissioned a wish list consisting of needs for children served by the Arc program. Boxes of gifts made it into the hands of smiling, appreciative children in time for the holidays.


Karen Hoffman, Director of Community and Family Services at The Arc, said: “The children we serve have had so many activities and routines disrupted by the pandemic. Having a gift to open upon their return to the program provided excitement and helped restore normalcy to their lives. We’re forever grateful to the Eagles Club for thinking of us, especially this year.”


The Fraternal Order of Eagles is an international non-profit organization, founded in 1898, uniting fraternally in the spirit of liberty, truth, justice. The Utica aerie was chartered in 1901.

Jackob and Rebeca Benitez-Sanquiche can hardly contain the excitement in anticipation of opening presents from their special secret Santas.

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