WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Thousands of Luzerne County children in need will have presents to open on Christmas morning thanks to the work of a non-profit organization.
Valley Santa strives to provide toys at Christmas for children in the county who would not otherwise have the opportunity to get gifts from Santa.
Members of the local community came out to a fundraiser Thursday night in support of its mission.
People packed Rodano’s restaurant on Public Square in Downtown Wilkes-Barre for its eighth annual benefit for Valley Santa.
Since 1984, the non-profit has helped provide Christmas presents for thousands of underprivileged children in Luzerne County.
“It’s a classic Santa situation. families write a letter, or agencies write a letter, telling us children, ages, what they want, and we shop for them, every child is individually shopped for,” said Sarah Borland, Valley Santa Coordinator & Board Member.
The organization relies on donations from the community to purchase toys.
More than 300 dedicated volunteers use the funds to shop, wrap and ship the presents out to families.
“It’s just fantastic when we read the letters, some of them, there are letters I read 25 years ago that I still remember, they’re just so heartwarming. It’s just unbelievable some of the stories, the hardships that people go through at this time,” said Bob Silvi, a Valley Santa volunteer.
Silvi and the others work from November through Christmas Eve to make childrens’ wishes come true.
“Everybody goes, not 100% but 200%, 250% out of their way to make this thing work,” said Silvi.
But these efforts dig deeper than just putting presents under the tree.
“I don’t think it’s about toys. I think what it is, it’s about letting children know that they’re seen, they’re thought of, and they’re loved,” said Borland.
This Christmas, Valley Santa is providing toys for more than four thousand children in Luzerne County thanks to the generosity of the community.