The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

December 1, 2012

Annual Breakfast with Santa benefits March of Dimes

By James Neal, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Long lines formed in the Enid High School cafeteria Saturday morning for the 14th annual Breakfast with Santa, which benefits the Enid March of Dimes Foundation.

Kids and their parents enjoyed crafts, a bounce house, music, caroling, a full pancake-and-sausage breakfast, and of course, pictures with Santa.

“We’re very excited to be celebrating 14 years of this fun, family-friendly event,” said Stephanie Soucek, director of Enid’s March of Dimes Foundation.

“Our mission is all about saving babies,” Soucek said.

She said March of Dimes fundraising goes to support education, research, advocacy and community services, all “working together for stronger, healthier babies.”

“It’s very important that people know all the money we raise goes to those four programs, and it takes community giving to help babies.”

Soucek said the Breakfast with Santa event would not have been possible without the help of Enid Public Schools staff, particularly EPS head custodian Ted Crawford.

“We’re so thankful to Ted Crawford and his crew here at Enid High School,” Soucek said. “It takes a lot of help and a great group of workers to pull all this together.”

Crawford said helping stage events like Breakfast with Santa is part of the school district’s broader mission.

“Enid Public Schools is very community-oriented, and we have a very good relationship with March of Dimes and other community organizations.”

“I really like helping with events like this,” Crawford said. “It’s a lot of work, and a lot of time, but we feel like it’s beneficial to the community. You see the good March of Dimes does, and they’re just wonderful people.”

Natalie Garrett, who served this year with Heather Helberg as co-chair for the event, said the fundraiser would not have been possible without a dedicated corps of volunteers.

Volunteers from Vance Air Force Base, Northwestern Oklahoma State University-Enid and Northern Oklahoma College joined with students from Drummond, Timberlake, Pioneer-Pleasant Vale, Chisholm and Enid schools to pull off the fundraiser.

“We couldn’t do all of this without the volunteers, and we’re very thankful for their help,” Garrett said.

Garrett said she and other March of Dimes volunteers share a love of children, and a desire to help them grow up healthy.

“My passion in life is babies,” she said. “I just love babies and children, and I want to make sure some day they’re all born healthy, and anything I can do to help in that process is definitely worth my time.”

JoDee Moore is very familiar with the good March of Dimes can do for babies and their families.

Moore’s 7-year-old son Travis was born prematurely, weighing little more than one pound. He spent 75 days in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) clinging to life with the help of doctors and equipment supported by March of Dimes initiatives.

Today, Travis is a healthy 7-year-old. He was busy at the Breakfast with Santa event making a foam owl decoration for his family Christmas tree.

Moore said her son’s progress would not have been possible without the NICU equipment, and the extra training and support doctors receive thanks in part to March of Dimes.

The Moore family attends Breakfast with Santa each year, and they put together a team for the March for Babies each spring. Moore said they want to give back for the help they received in Travis’ time of need.

“The biggest thing we can give back is to just offer inspiration and support to other families that are going through what we went through,” she said. “We just tell them, ‘You cry every day, and you pray every day. It’s not in your hands, and God will pull you through.’”