On December 18, the season of giving continued as the Garden of Dreams Foundation and New York Rangers hosted a holiday dinner and celebration at one of the Foundation’s partners, Life Center, which is part of the New York City Department of Homeless Services. New York Rangers player, Rick Nash joined in the winter festivities by serving meals, signing autographs and interacting with families.
To kick off the night, Nash and several of the Rangers’ wives served 300 hot meals to children and families. As the families filled their plates, they were escorted to the dining hall, where Garden of Dreams teen, Brittney-Ann, sang and played the piano. Holiday cheer and togetherness could be felt throughout the room. Antonio Rodriguez, Director of Special Events for the NYC Department of Homeless Services, said, “It [the Garden of Dreams and New York Rangers holiday dinner] is extremely impactful. It makes the children and families feel special, it shows support and it makes them feel a part of the New York City community and that’s what it’s all about, community and sharing.”
After the families finished their meals, the children and adults raced into the gymnasium which was transformed into a winter wonderland. The winter wonderland was filled with music and exciting activities such as a photo booth, candy station, face painting, corn hole and street hockey. Before the night ended, everyone received a New York Rangers long-sleeved shirt, a gift bag and a blanket.
“It’s pretty amazing, it puts the game in perspective,” said New York Ranger left wing Rick Nash, “What we do on the ice is just a game, even though it is a job, but when you come here and hear some of the stories that are real life situations, it really humbles you and you want to do more and more.”