Merchants Bring Christmas Cheer to Underprivileged

South Bethlehem businesses and Downtown Bethlehem Association team up to provide Christmas gifts to 15 area families.


For the first time, the Downtown Bethlehem Association and SouthSide merchants collaborated during December’s First Friday to bring a little holiday cheer into the homes of 15 children.

On Thursday, more than four bags of unwrapped toys from Cutter’s Bike Shop, Godfrey Daniels, Youniversity of Music and Arts and Tallarico’s Chocolates were delivered to Fountain Hill Elementary School. 

Many of the participating drop-off locations offered deals and percentages off if any patron brought in a new toy for the kids. 

One downtown shop decided to help take care of the needs of the children, instead. Apotheca Salon and Boutique donated a pack of socks for every child to ensure warmth this winter! 

The Downtown Bethlehem Association and the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce provided a jacket for each child, as well!

Everything was distributed to the families on Friday so that each parent or guardian has the opportunity to wrap the gifts on their own and stick them under their family tree.

“The main purpose the toys and clothing items are supposed to come unwrapped is so the parents can feel like they helped to provide a Christmas for their child,” said Rosa Gomez, Community School Activity Coordinator for Fountain Hill Elementary School.

“Some of the families don’t have the resources to buy anything at all, and now they can at least give warmth and some toys for the season!”

The Downtown Bethlehem Association hopes to help the community in this way for many years to come.

“It truly was a great turnout for the first merchant-wide toy drive, ever!” says Kasara McLaughlin, assistant manager of the Downtown Bethlehem Association.  “We can’t wait to watch this grow year after year. Hopefully, we’ll someday be able to help out a lot more families!”


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