Anti-addiction Foundation Brightens Christmas for School Kids

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SCRANTON -- It was an early taste of Christmas for hundreds of youngsters in Scranton Monday morning.

A man who lost a daughter to heroin addiction spent the morning brightening the holidays at an elementary school.

A parade of youngsters filed into the library of Charles Sumner Elementary in Scranton. Inside were Santa and Mrs. Claus, Santa's elves, and tables filled with wrapped gifts.

"I already have presents at my house and this is another present," said preschooler Ryan Farinas.

Ryan Farinas, age 5, received his gift and So did 326 of his classmates.  The gifts came from a donor who didn't want his name mentioned.

The Forever Sammi Foundation made it happen.  Sammi was Sammi Henahan, a 23 year old who died from a heroin overdose last year.  This is where she went to elementary school.

"The Forever Sammi Foundation, anywhere you see that, there's an act of kindness at its core," said Martin Henahan, Sammi's father.

And on this day, the kindness was repeated over, and over, and over again.  Every student in this school went home with something.

"I don't know what it is, but it's kind of heavy," said preschooler Gianna Carranza. "I'm going to open it today."

This was more than gift giving.  Children had a chance to talk with Santa and his wife, getting in those last-minute requests.

"I said I wanted a dolly and I want a Hatchimal, too, for Christmas," said first-grader Jennalia Rodriguez.

The gifts given out at Charles Sumner really didn't have anything to do with fighting drugs or fighting addiction, but clearly, there is a message implied. And that message, according to Sammi's father is the Forever Sammi Foundation is here to help.

"Should they in the future or their family members have somebody who is struggling, we always want them to know we're readily accessible and approachable in the community," Henahan said.

And that is a gift that keeps its meaning long after Christmas.


  • Fels Naptha Works Wonders

    Here we go, again. Holiday Season. High emotions. Feeling losses. And, introducing 5 year old kids to addiction and why they should avoid it through the giving of toys.

    When I was 5, I didn’t even know what that word meant. If a foundation is going to gift children with things, then they need to do it SILENTLY and keep the rules of “age-appropriate” information OUT of their agendas. Geeeesh

  • MisterPL

    Teach the kids how to say no to doctors who like to overprescribe pain meds. Teach them better ways to deal with pain than to pop pills. Certain meds should be last resorts, not the first drugs handed out.

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