STAMFORD, Conn. — The lobby of NBC’s Stamford studio is usually packed with audience members waiting to see a taping of one of its nationally broadcast shows. But the space held a different crowd last week.
Even though the temperature was an unseasonable 50 degrees, several smiling children from the Boys & Girls club gathered to receive holiday presents donated by NBC Universal employees. It is the holiday season: Christmas and Kawanza are soon approaching, after all, and Hanukkah was wrapping up.
The children, who range from age 5 through 10, enjoyed hot coco and sugar cookies. They were entertained by Jonathan Hyppolite, an NBC warmup entertainer, who didn’t disappoint.
Hyppolite made plenty of funny faces and took the children on plenty of trips to the refreshments table.
Ben Aaron, the host of NBC’s “Crazy Talk” — a “laugh-out-loud comedic show” — was also on hand for the event. He said the children were simply “adorable.”
Before the event, the children were asked to provide NBC with a holiday wish list, and the children received at least two gifts from their lists.
Employee support for the toy drive was overwhelming. Gift giving volunteers originally outnumbered the children, so the company asked the Boys & Girls Club to provide more wish lists.
NBC Universal Senior Vice President of Programming and Development Tracie Wilson was one of the employees on hand for the event.
“This is one of our favorite days,” she said, taking in the scene of delighted children. “To see these kids come into the lobby so excited, it just brings the holiday spirit to the forefront.”
The lobby of the studio was decked out for the holidays. Behind a table piled high with gifts, a two-story Christmas tree served as a background for the event.
Some asked for Barbie dolls or basketballs. Others asked for specific books, Boys & Girls Club Unit Director Jeff Pytlak said.
“It’s heartwarming to see the kids get the gifts because some of them may not have those gifts under the tree on Christmas morning,” Pytlak said.
The Boys & Girls Club of America’s Stamford clubhouse is located at 347 Stillwater Ave in Stamford. It serves children age 5 through high school, Pytlak said.
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