The Grinch helps children find green presents in Winchester’s Francis Domenigoni Community Center

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The Grinch makes up for his Christmas meanness by hugging the Roxanne Gonzales’ sons Jay and Xavier and their Aunt Melissa and Uncle Isaiah during the Grinch Candy Cane Hunt in Winchester. Valley News/Tony Ault photo

The Grinch, prodded by Valley-Wide Recreation and Park District employees, appeared at the Francis Domenigoni Community Center Grinch Candy Cane Hunt Thursday, Dec. 19, giving children, cookies, hot cocoa and his own Grinch gifts.

The annual Grinch Candy Cane Hunt began as the children and their parents enjoyed hot cocoa and cookies while watching the “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” before the green fellow strolled in.

The dozens of children, who were enjoying the fun, dropped their crayons, stopped watching the cartoon just as it ended and ran to greet The Grinch who promised each boy and girl candy canes: red-striped candy canes or green ones that could be traded for a Grinch toy. There were some whoops of delight as children unwrapped a green candy cane and ran to get their present from Community Center Supervisor Robert Byers who served as event announcer.

The Grinch made sure the adults had a chance for a prize as well and those who didn’t have a green candy cane with a ticket drawing. The children who picked up some crayons and coloring sheets, entered the coloring contest for more other prizes.

Helping The Grinch with the children’s activities was his friend from the Hemet HomeTown Buffet Busy Bee who handed out free meal tickets and hugs to each child who came to visit.

Volunteers came from Rooted Church in Winchester and Dedicated Volunteers of Winchester. Both groups were sponsors of the event. The Francis Domenigoni Community Center is located at 32665 Haddock St. in Winchester.

Tony Ault can be reached by email at tault@reedermedia.com.