On December 3, the newly opened The American Club ballroom, The Galbraith Ballroom, was transformed into a scene from the North Pole, as we gathered together to enjoy the wonderfully poignant annual event, Toys for Tots. Members and friends of the organization came out in droves to donate toys for less fortunate kids in Singapore and enjoy an evening of camaraderie, holiday crafts, carols and, of course, a visit from Santa himself!

The Toys for Tots program began in California in 1947, when Major Bill Hendricks, US Marine Corps Reserve, oversaw a campaign that collected 5,000 toys for underprivileged children. The Marine Corps adopted Toys for Tots in 1948, expanding it into a nationwide campaign and it became an official mission of the US Marine Corps Reserve in 1995. This is the eighth time that the American Association of Singapore has hosted Toys for Tots on the island.

AAS could not co-host this event with The American Club without the invaluable support of sponsors. We are grateful for the very generous and ongoing support of the events major sponsor, Master Real Estate, as well as a Super Elf and Community Partner. Other supporting sponsors include International Medical Clinic, Navy League and Riverbed Technology. The team at Riverbed also participated in their own toy drive program, earning them the festive Super Elf and Community Partner accolade, along with Super Elves AmCham, Alfatech, Banyan Tree, Caterpillar, Gold Coin, Master Real Estate, Regal Springs, US Cub Scouts Pack 3010 and Boy Scout Troop 10.

On December 3, the Super Elf Sponsors then arranged a Santa-sleigh-worthy delivery of their amassed collections to add to the AAS community efforts.

Many thanks to our amazing volunteers who led the craft tables and delighted children with an assortment of holiday activities. Our wildly popular, ongoing tradition of holiday cookie decorating was supported by the donation of homemade cookies by US Embassy families and of homemade icing by Hoe Brothers Catering. Delicious and fun, year after year.

A short welcome was given by AAS President, Stephanie Nash, followed by heartwarming words from Stephanie Syptak-Ramnath, Chargé d’Affaires, a.i., US Embassy Singapore.

The sound of Christmas songs filled the room with festive spirit, as we were entertained by the Singapore American School High School Choir, the SAS Singers, under the direction of Nanette Devens. With the final song, Santa made his arrival, accompanied by three of his trusty elves. The children (and adults!) enjoyed meeting Santa and having their picture taken with him. In addition to the big man himself, the galactic volunteers from the world of Star Wars were a big hit with the kids and provided an entertaining twist on the holiday theme.

Sugar-cookie-charged children took away a holiday goody bag, including toys and treats donated by GEMS World Academy (Singapore), International Medical Clinic, Kids Treasures, Perfetti Van Melle Asia Pacific Pte Ltd, Smilefocus and Stamford American International School.

By the end of the evening, the ballroom vestibule was overflowing with hundreds and hundreds of toys – an overwhelming bounty from an incredibly generous group of people. Sincere thanks to our logistics partner, Allied Pickfords, for collecting and delivering the toys to the US Embassy.

We would like to thank everyone involved; members, volunteers, supporters and sponsors for making this a truly wonderful gathering and a fitting way to end a wonderful 2018 for the American Association.

Read the full publication by clicking here.