The children were greeted by Melnyk and his family at a luncheon in the Local Heroes Hockey Country Lodge and then took to the ice for a holiday skate with the Melnyks.
In the holiday spirit, the Melnyk family generously donated a Senators jersey, a helmet, a new pair of skates and a lootbag to each of the participating children.
“This event has become a wonderful holiday tradition for my family,” said Melnyk. “The joy, enthusiasm and spirit of these children is what makes the holiday season such a special time for all us.”
"We are happy to once again be part an event that helps to make the holiday season so special for these children," said Melanie Davis, CAYFO executive director. "Thanks to the generosity of the Melnyk family, these young people will now have the opportunity to experience the joys of skating."
"If you could just see the faces of these children — most of whom have never owned a pair of skates,” said Max Keeping, honorary chair of the Sens Foundation. “They're overwhelmed by the generosity of Eugene and his family. Some don't believe it. Teachers have told us that some kids finish the skate on the ice, then ask if they must now return the skates! Ottawa is learning every year just what a gift Eugene Melnyk and his family really are. No one appreciates that more than the 100 children each year for whom he is a smiling, benevolent, real Santa."
CAYFO is a dynamic not-for-profit youth organization that has focused its attention on providing the very best services to the young people of Canada’s capital city since 1997. It works on the promotion of youth engagement and volunteering, and manages some of the best youth awards programs, youth leadership programs and conferences in Canada. It has also spearheaded innovative anti-bullying and victimization projects, helped children at risk, bridged the generations, promoted partnerships, encouraged young people to excel and celebrated this excellence.