Mission of the organization and its history
The mission of the Valley Santa program is to provide a toy at Christmas for children in Luzerne County who would not otherwise have the opportunity to receive gifts from Santa. The program was developed in 1984 through a community wide effort and it was based loosely on the program that was established in Boston through the Boston Globe called the Globe Santa.
Various members of the community determined there was a need to provide toys to children at Christmas and the volunteers asked for community businesses to cooperate with the establishment of the program. The: Citizenís Voice, a Wilkes-Barre newspaper, prints a story regarding children in need each day from Thanksgiving until Christmas. Donations are sent to the Valley Santa Fund and are collected from our Post Office Box from the Citizenís Bank in Wilkes-Barre and deposited directly to our bank account. The Citizenís Bank also volunteers their staff time to document the donations and do the appropriate accounting. Toys for the children through Boscovís, a local department store, which opens the doors to allow shopping every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 7:00 a.m so that the volunteers can purchase the toys that can be shipped to the children. Boscovís also gives usēa substantial discount and provides a wrapping area and wrapping paper for the presents.
The Mission of the organization is to make sure that each child in Luzerne County wakes up with a toy on Christmas morning. The request is made for help by sending a letter to Valley Santa that is co-signed by a clergy member or social worker. Toys are purchased for children twelve years and younger.
The organization does not have any full time staff and the monies collected from the community are used to purchase toys and ship the gifts to the recipients through the United States Postal Service. All of the services and efforts are donated by more than 300 volunteers who work on this project every year.
In 1984 there were approximately 300 children who received presents from Valley Santa. Our last Christmas (2014), saw over 4000 children shopped for.
Volunteers are used to purchase presents, wrap presents, read letters and deliver packages on Christmas Eve which are necessary to fill last minute requests when delivery through United States Postal Service is not possible.
Without the help of volunteers, the program would not be successful.