HERE COMES SANTA CLAUS: Breakfast with Santa sees large crowd for charitable cause

Published 4:05 am Tuesday, December 14, 2021

The 20th annual Breakfast with Santa event took place Saturday morning, with hundreds of children and their parents — and at least one elf — in attendance.

Attendees were able to enjoy a hot breakfast courtesy of McDonald’s, and a few special treats as well. Mrs. Claus joined her husband, Santa Claus, on his trip down South to Vicksburg, and brought a cart of cookies to share with boys and girls on the nice list.

According to Executive Director of the Vicksburg Convention Center Erin Southard, the event was a success in its 20th year.

“We’ve never completely sold out before, and this year we did. I would say we had a good 600 to 650 people in attendance out of a maximum 700 tickets sold,” Southard said. “This year, we were adding tables and chairs, and as close to being at capacity as we’ve ever been.”

During the event, children were able to have a socially distanced visit with Santa and participate in drawings for a variety of presents and gift cards. There was also a variety of take-home crafts and plenty of holiday sing-alongs to get guests of all ages in the holiday spirit.

The event was sponsored by numerous community supporters including McDonald’s, Reeds Metals, Mutual Credit Union, Terry Service, Inc., Golding Barge Line, Inc., Hometown Medical, WaterView Casino and Shiers Communication Specialists. Numerous community volunteers assist and support in the production of the event.

Southard said she was especially appreciative of local McDonald’s owners Mike and Melanie Roach.

“Years ago, there was an event called Festival of Trees, and it was a whole weekend of events for Vicksburg. In all the planning for this, Melanie Roach said, ‘If the charity can be Ronald McDonald House, we will provide the food,'” Southard said. “Over the years, all the food has been donated by McDonald’s and its vendors. The goal is to give Ronald McDonald House as much as we can once we’ve paid for everything. There are so many local families who have benefitted from Ronald McDonald House. Mike and Melanie Roach, and now their son Jeremy, have been such a huge part of this event.

“The family part isn’t just the families that attend; it’s the families that help put it on.”

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Mississippi improves the well-being of children and families through programs that give comfort, compassion and care. Ronald McDonald House opened its doors on May 1, 1989, and is located on the campus of the University of Mississippi Medical Center. The house serves as a home-away-from-home for families who have children receiving specialized medical care throughout the Jackson metro area.