On Tuesday night, one huge room on the concourse at Gillette Stadium was transformed into a children's paradise.
It took months of preparation by the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation to pull it off, but in the end, between the 10 Patriots players, the half dozen Pats cheerleaders, the stuffed animals as far as the eye can see, hundreds of presents, the well-organized games, the autographs and an appearance by Santa Claus, a good time was had by all.
In fact, some kids say the 20th annual New England Patriots Children's Holiday Party was their ‘best day ever!'
"I had so much fun," one teen laughed wearing a funny hat and chomping on a fruity candy cane.
But representatives from the Salvation Army tell NBC10 the day was especially important for this group of adolescents, because many of the children come from disadvantaged families across New England.
Major James Labossiere is the Division Commander for the Salvation Army.
He said, "Over 250 people have been here tonight for the Annual Patriots Holiday Party. People came down from Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut. We're so appreciative. It's an event that takes many months to put together between working with the various Salvation Army groups and community groups, getting the permission, getting the sign-offs, making the logistics, getting the fans to come down here, it's hard work but it's always worth it for the kids."
But the highlight of the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation event was the ‘Wrap a Pat' finale.
Groups of children are given dozens of rolls of wrapping paper, ribbon, garland and bows and asked to ‘decorate' their assigned player with the stuff.
Labossiere told NBC 10, "It really is a high point coming here for the Patriots Party. What child gets to meet his favorite players, and wrap them up and get their autographs? Not too many. So it's a pretty exciting time."
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