Good Will Christmas Gala

CORNING - A Good Will Christmas Gala will be held Sunday at the Crystal City Veterans Of Foreign Wars, 281 Baker Street, to raise funds for the Bath VA Homeless Veterans Program.


The first-annual Christmas Gala, which runs from noon-6 p.m., will include events such as pictures with Santa, story time with Mrs. Claus, selfie stations, reindeer games, prizes, raffles and much more.


Terry and Mary Ann Tozer, who are holding the event, said admission is $5 per person with a $20 maximum per family and children 3-years-old or younger are free.


“Raising money for our homeless veterans is the big reason for this event, but we also want it to be something we can do every year,” Mary Ann Tozer said. “Something big for our local families and our community. We're very excited.”


Terry Tozer, a U.S. Navy veteran, said he and his wife, who will be Santa and Ms. Claus during the event, made all the decorations for the event.


“The VFW is going to be decorated from top to bottom,” Mary Ann Tozer said. “We are looking forward to a great event to raise funds for a needed (Homeless Veterans) program.”


The Homeless Veterans Program includes residential care for sheltered and unsheltered Veterans with multiple challenges, illnesses or rehabilitative care needs. It provides a structured setting to foster Veterans' independence and mutual support.


“A lot of people don’t realize how many homeless veterans there are in the local area,” said Terry Tozer. “There is a lot.”


Lynn Dinehart, Voluntary Service Manager at the Bath VA, agreed.


“One of the important things is I don’t think people realize that we do have homeless veterans in our area,” Dinehart said. “I think everybody thinks it’s just in cities, but it’s here as well. The program provides so much, from residential care to things like blankets, sheets, towels, forks as well as many others.”


Dinehart said the funds raised from Sunday’s Good Will Christmas Gala will be turned into a check that will go to the Bath VA Homeless Veterans Program.


“This fundraiser and activity will hopefully raise the awareness to the homeless (veterans) issue and also help support the many needs that they have throughout the year,” Dinehart said. “Which is a wonderful thing.”


Mary Ann Tozer said she hopes the Good Will Christmas Gala will raise more than $1,000 and become an event everyone looks forward to in the Christmas season for years to come.