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Health Center Brings Holiday Cheer To Hundreds Of Kids In Need

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Hundreds of children in need had the chance to meet Santa and get some gifts Saturday on the Upper West Side.

As CBS2's Reena Roy reported, you could see Christmas joy in their faces and hear it in their voices.

The annual event hosted by the William F. Ryan Community Health Network brought out hundreds of its under-served clients for a special winter wonderland at its West 97th Street center – one of the organization's 18 sites across the city.

"I'm so excited because I love presents and I'm so excited for my little brother because it's like only his second year meeting Santa," said Angelina Freyre.

There were all kinds of treats for the kids, like presents, face painting, magic shows, and Christmas carols. The event put big smiles not just on children's faces, but parents, as well.

Organizers say 90 percent of their patients are below the poverty line.

"Any little bit of help always helps. Whatever we can get, we always appreciate it. My daughter appreciates it," Susan Anton said. "It makes me so happy to see her happy."

"They come here every year. They even go to the Ryan Center for their doctor appointments. It's fun for them," said Cecile Bethea.

After all, it is the season of giving.

"So great to have a positive moment, and the holidays alway brings us back to having positive encounters, and family, and fun and toys," organizer Bob Fohngho said.

It was the first of three events the health network will be hosting at different sites this month. The other two will be on the Lower East Side and in Midtown.

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