OANA gets into the holiday spirit

Debbie Smith, winner of the first ever Friend of Old Arabi Award is pictured with OANA Board member Ray Lauga and President Barry Lemoine.

The Old Arabi Neighborhood Association got into the spirit of the season with a pair of events recently.

First up was the annual Christmas and Holiday Party. Coordinated by OANA Board Member Kelly McCartney, the event was held at the Kitchen Table Café. Nearly 60 friends and neighbors gathered for the fun.

At the party, President Barry Lemoine made a special presentation, awarding Debbie Smith with the first ever Friend of Old Arabi Award. Lemoine said he wanted to recognize Smith for her decades of service and commitment to the Old Arabi community.

“For over 40 years, The Old Arabi Food Store has been an icon in our neighborhood, and Debbie has been a huge part of that history. Her kindness, generosity, and constant presence in the area is something we wanted to pay homage to. Now that she has sold the business, we wanted her to know she will forever be a part of the Old Arabi family.”

Special thanks to Katherine Lemoine for coordinating the award and its presentation.

Later that week, Lemoine was joined by fellow Board Officer Linda Van Aman at Arabi Elementary for another special delivery. As it has for the last several years, OANA teamed up with Arabi Elementary and adopted ten families in need for the holiday. Each family received a $200 gift card to the newly opened Canseco’s Market, a $300 gift card to Walmart, and a voucher for a Christmas tree at Renaissance Gardens.

Van Aman was quick to thank OANA member Maegan Dobson for coordinating the donation with the school and said the $5000 donation will allow those families to have a great holiday meal, get some shopping done, and enjoy the spirit of the season. “Our membership is really proud to help others during this special time of year,” she said.

Carla Carollo, the Principal of Arabi Elementary School, said she appreciates the generosity of OANA. “It really means a lot that the neighborhood association remembers us each year. It’s very kind and thoughtful and really helpful to some of our families in need.”

Friends and neighbors in OANA gathered at the Kitchen Table for their annual holiday party.

Friends and neighbors in OANA gathered at the Kitchen Table for their annual holiday party.

Friends and neighbors in OANA gathered at the Kitchen Table for their annual holiday party.

Friends and neighbors in OANA gathered at the Kitchen Table for their annual holiday party.

OANA President Barry Lemoine and Board Officer Linda Van Aman present Arabi Elementary Principal Carla Carollo a $5000 donation for some of the school’s families in need.