Santa poses with a local girl at the Truth Community Church tree lighting event in Flanders. Photo by Maria Piedrabuena

Almost three-hundred people showed up last night for the Flanders community tree lighting hosted by Truth Community Church.

In addition to the tree-lighting, the event also featured photos with Santa, a performance by the Riverhead Middle School Show Choir—where they sang traditional Christmas carols—an outdoor fire, and cookies and hot chocolate to fend off the cold.

A raffle with prizes for kids and adults, thanks to donations from Riverside Rediscovered and the Flanders Riverside Northampton Community Association, closed the event.

“We wanted to provide a fun community event that people could walk away from saying, ‘That was worth it!’ Our hope is to change the face of church in our community so that people know we exist to show love and compassion,” Truth Community Church pastor Keith Indovino said.

Close to 50 volunteers, including students from the Riverhead Middle School honor society, helped with the logistics of the event and helped guests during the different activities.

The Flanders Fire Department and the Flanders Northampton Volunteer Ambulance also showed up to greet and share with the community.

“One of my favorite moments from the event was when I took a moment to look around and saw the diversity of our community coming together in one place: different ages, different races, all feeling loved, and accepted.” Indovino said.

RiverheadLOCAL photos by Maria Piedrabuena

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