I have to tell the readers about the men and women who work with me each day at the North Pole Annex. I have the best time watching them from my office, just a few steps away from all the action.

Playing Santa Claus each morning is a special treat for our volunteers. We are mostly a retired group of individuals who have raised our own children, and working the Santa Claus Fund is like reliving the experience of years gone by.

When they are handed a slip with a list of children on it, they get real serious about their mission. It’s like shopping for your own. They begin by searching for the best presents in the bins at that very moment. When they hit on a super gift, you can read the expressions on their faces. It says: I’m really going to put a smile on a child Christmas morning. Then they move on to the next bin searching out another item to match the child with the gifts.

It takes all of 15 minutes or so to pick and pack the toys. Then they seal it up, put a Santa Claus Fund label on it, and off it goes to the holding area. When that package is sealed, these volunteers are pleased with themselves because they know they did the very best for that child. That box contains a ton of smiles. It brings laughter and joy to the parents who now can provide a Christmas that might not have happened without the Santa Claus Fund.

Our volunteers don’t get paid, but they work just as hard as anybody who is getting a paycheck. I am so lucky to have you folks on the team. Thank you ladies and gentlemen for all you do.

We are still waiting for your letters to come in. Please don’t wait any longer. We need time to do the job right. It will be so much harder to get all of you processed when everyone sends in at the last minute. So get to the mailbox and send us your letter. Then call 319-4785 for your box number. We will tell where and when you can pick up your package. Don’t procrastinate. Do it today.

Our longtime reader, supporter and now an honorary volunteer, Margaret McCann, sent us another 150 pairs of mittens. Margaret has been helping us for many years. I know because I see her name each year when I write this column. She is so meticulous about her mittens. They are so colorful and well made. She’s an artist at her craft. Even the cartons she sends the mittens in are packed like a machine had lined them up. That’s very clever Margaret. We can’t thank you enough. We therefore this year make you an honorary volunteer of the Santa Claus Fund.

Judy Burke stopped at the Elks lodge and dropped off some mittens. Thank you Judy. Mrs. R. dropped off a knit blanket, some mittens and some books for our kids. Lori Thiboutot donated a puzzle, some stickers and two musical items. Thank you Lori.

The donations today totaled $1,470. That is fantastic! Here is our list of contributors. Anh Phan Sole from Elizabeth Nails II sent $20; Thomas and Julie Rice donated $50; Becky and Rodger Cuthbert donated $100; Dante B. DiEdwardo donated $25 in memory of Susan DiEdwardo; Elizabeth and Robert Leaman donated $25; Jane Gott sent $50 in memory of Jerry and Winnie; Mike and Ray Rosenzweig sent $25 in memory of KJ; Lionel and Judy Bourque donated $25; Alan and Carol Sockloff donated $100; Mary St. Pierre sent $25; Sheila and John Hewitt sent $25; Dr. Richard and Anna Largay sent $100; Bonnie and Dana Delano sent $100; The “Nest” sent us $10; Joe Sheehan donated $50; and Karen L. Young donated $20. The United Bikers of Maine sent us $220 from money they raised during a bottle and can drive. Thank you to everyone for helping this campaign move forward by your generosity.

We also received a $500 donation from the Morning Glory Natural Foods store. We have partnered with the Morning Glory Natural Food store for many years. We thank you for your generosity and continued support.

Our new total is now $5,760. Thank you again. If you would like to contribute to our fund, you can send a tax deductible donation to The Santa Claus Fund Inc. at P.O. Box 278, Brunswick, ME 04011.

Last week Joshua’s Restaurant and Tavern hosted its annual Santa Claus Fund Auction. As soon as the results are announced I will bring them to you. Thanks for spending some time with me today.

The kid count is now at 109 boys and 125 girls. That’s a total of 234 children so far.

THE SANTA CLAUS FUND reports are contributed by coordinator Dave Desjardins, known by volunteers at “the head elf.”

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