By Debbie Adams
Vinton Moose Lodge members and the Ladies of the Moose treated over 100 Roanoke County
Special Education students, mostly in elementary and high school programs, to Breakfast with
Santa in their banquet hall on December 1. This has been an annual event (except during the
COVID years) since 1999.
The men cooked pancakes and sausage, which were then served up by the ladies.
Students from Cave Spring, Northside, and William Byrd High Schools were in attendance,
along with elementary students from Herman L. Horn, Penn Forest, Burlington, and Oak Grove.
Teachers, instructional assistants, Special Education administrators, and bus drivers were also
invited to the event.
Several members of the Vinton Police Dept. and Roanoke County Fire & Rescue joined the
festivities. They made some children’s dreams come true by bringing along some of their
vehicles for the students to explore, including operating the lights and sirens.
Roanoke County Director of Special Education and Pupil Personnel Services Beth Harman says
the annual event is not only fun for the students, but a great way to improve social skills,
communication skills, and independent living skills. Many of the students who attended are in the FAACTS (Functional Academic Accessibility and Career Transition Skills) program or PEAP (Pre-Elementary Autism Program) classes.
Breakfast with Santa is just one of the many community service events the Moose Lodge
sponsors each year. Organized initially as a social club in the late 1800s, Moose International
reorganized early in the 20th century with one of their main goals being caring for children and
families in need across North America.