News10NBC stories highlighting the good in our community

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Here are some stories our team has covered about community members spreading holiday cheer.

In ‘Lou’ of Gifts: Mother-son duo hold toy drive

Little Louie was adopted by his foster mother in East Rochester just before his second birthday. Now, Louie is learning the beauty in giving back by helping run a special toy drive, “In Lou of Gifts,” for the Mount Hope Family Center. See the full story here.

Lindsay Jewett and son Louie — seen here with their therapist at Mount Hope Family Center — run a special toy drive, “In Lou of Gifts,” for the family center, where they’ve been going for over a year. (Photo: WHEC)

This is the story of a WWII soldier from Irondequoit who became the ‘American St. Nick’

Seventy-nine years ago, in a war-torn town in the middle of Europe, a young soldier from Irondequoit turned into Santa Claus. The children in Wiltz, Luxembourg hadn’t celebrated Saint Nicholas Day for five years because it was banned by the Nazis. But in December 1944, the American GI’s showed up and Corporal Dick Brookins became the “American St. Nick.” See the full story here.

Corporal Dick Brookins became the “American St. Nick” when the American GI’s showed up to liberate Luxembourg from the Nazis in December 1944. (Photo/U.S. Army)

Community sets up outdoor menorahs for Hanukkah to celebrate light’s victory over darkness

During Hanukkah, the eight day Festival of Lights that ended on Dec. 15, organizers put up large menorahs at over a dozen sites across Monroe County. The menorahs symbolize religious freedom for all, and the victory of light over darkness, to the thousands of daily passers-by.

Malek’s Bakery in Brighton started baking their pastries at 4 a.m. to prepare for the first night of the eight-day holiday. See the full story here.

Menorah lighting for the third night of Hanukkah at the Twelve Corners of Brighton (WHEC)

Christmas panic set in after package meant for Rochester, Ind. ended up in Rochester, NY

After News10NBC tracked down a package that was supposed to go to Rochester, Indiana but was mistakenly delivered to Rochester, New York, the gifts are finally in the right hands.

A San Diego man emailed investigative reporter Berkeley Brean in a panic after he mistakenly sent Christmas gifts for a family to the wrong Rochester. Berkeley was able to find the package and sent it to the correct place. See the full story here and the update here.

How often does the Rochester area have a white Christmas?

How often does the Rochester area have a white Christmas? In order for a Christmas to be white, there has to be an inch or more at the Rochester airport at 7 in the morning. There was a white Christmas last year but there won’t be one this year. See the full story here.

Ice rink at MLK Park (Photo: WHEC)

Genesee County senior goes above and beyond for class assignment

To graduate from LeRoy Central School District, juniors and seniors have to complete a community service project. Sundae Duyssen, a senior with muscular dystrophy, started a toy drive and collected over 340 toys, clothes, and games and 370 cards ahead of the holiday season. See the full story here.

Sundae Duyssen, senior at LeRoy High School (Photo: WHEC)

Toys for Tots surpasses goal

The News10NBC Toys for Tots Holiday Drive set an ambitious goal this holiday season of collecting 100,000 new toys for local children.

But the sixth annual drive surpassed that goal by more than 1,000, a testament to the outstanding generosity of the Rochester community. That means the drive had another record-breaking year, after collecting a record 90,000 toys last year.

Those toys will go from the collection boxes placed at Quicklee’s convenience stores and other businesses into the hands of children, ranging from newborns from age 16. The United States Marine Corps Reserve manages and distributes the toys.

Toys for Tots (Photo: WHEC)

Roc Holiday Village celebrates Kwanzaa

The Roc Holiday Village celebrated more than Christmas this season. A Kwanzaa celebration was held for people to come together and share African American and Pan African culture and traditions.

Kwanzaa is a weeklong celebration that takes place Dec. 26 to Jan. 1 to honor the seven principles of Kwanzaa: Unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith. The holiday originated in 1966 and since then has become an important holiday tradition for many, and a way for community members to celebrate together.

Roc Holiday Village Kwanzaa celebration (Photo: WHEC)

Home in Penfield is all decked out for Christmas

A house in Penfield at the corner of Browncroft Boulevard and Landing Road is all decked out for Christmas. The winter wonderland includes lights of all different colors, snowmen, a giant inflatable Santa and reindeer, and festive trees. The homeowner says he starts getting the decorations ready over the summer and sets up on Nov. 1. See more photos of the home here.

Penfield home on Browncroft Boulevard and Landing Road (Photo: WHEC)

Caroling event at Liberty Pole aimed at promoting peace, love and hope

The spirit of Christmas was alive and well in downtown Rochester. There were carolers at the Liberty Pole for the Stop the Violence caroling event, organized by United and Healing Through Hope of Monroe County. The goal is to bring peace, love, hope and unity back into the community.

“We’re doing the Stop the Violence Christmas caroling at the Liberty Pole, where freedom is, where love is, where hope is — and that’s what we’re trying to bring to the community,” said Clay Harris from United and Healing Through Hope.

A Stop the Violence caroling event took place Tuesday evening at the Liberty Pole in Rochester. (Photo: WHEC)

Foodlink is partnering to offer free meals around Christmas

In Rochester, nearly 26% of people face food insecurity according to Feeding America. Foodlink, which serves the ten-county region around Rochester, is partnering with other organizations to make sure everyone can enjoy a fresh-cooked meal around Christmas time.

A Meal and More hosted a Christmas Eve lunch at its soup kitchen with lasagna, salad, and the very popular peach cobbler. Organizers say the meal was especially important for people who weren’t able to gather with family for the holidays.

“There’s a huge need in Rochester and many of us have lived in the City of Rochester for a long time and our children grew up here. It’s our way of giving back and making sure our neighbors who are less fortunate have a very good meal,” said Lois Jones, Vice President, A Meal and More.

A Meal and More provides free meals every Wednesday and Sunday at its kitchen at Christ Church on East Avenue in the city.

Kitchen at Christ Church on East Avenue (Photo: WHEC)

People in Santa costumes run around Rochester for annual Santa Stampede

People dressed up in Santa costumers ran and walked around Rochester for the annual Santa Stampede. The three mile run that began at Fleet Feet at the Culver Road Armory aimed to spread holiday cheer.

It also benefited the Bivona Child Advocacy Center and runners were encouraged to bring fleece blankets, plain sweatpants, leggings, or sweatshirts to donate to Bivona.

“This one literally just spreads joy,” said Fleet Feet owner Ellen Brenner-Boutillier. “People are honking their horns at us.  We say merry Christmas, happy Hanukkah, happy holidays to happy Kwanzaa,  to people on the streets. It just spreads goodwill.”

Santa Stampede on Dec. 17 (Photo WHEC)