PHOTO: Santa visits with children while on his rounds
ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS, NJ - Atlantic Highlands residents opened their cabinets and supply closets to donate hundreds of items during the Atlantic Highlands First Aid & Safety Squad’s annual “Santa Runs” event through the borough last week.
The items, which were delivered to the Atlantic Highlands Food Pantry at the United Methodist Church, were collected as Santa and his elves from the AHFAS visited borough streets during the evening hours Dec. 9-12.
For the past several years, the AHFAS has built in a food drive into the annual “Santa Runs,” when Santa and his helpers from the all-volunteer organization visit one part of town each night. During the runs Santa travels by a specially built sleigh designed for Atlantic Highlands streets and is helped by ambulances and volunteers from the AHFAS. While on the road, Santa poses with children, delivers candy canes, and helps spread cheer throughout town.
Residents responded to the AHFAS request for donations of non-perishable items in large numbers. Many families waited in front of their homes with bags and boxes of items for the drive. Donations included food products, toiletries, cleaning supplies, all-important paper products, and along with other items that will go directly to help the area needy via the Food Pantry.
“The support from the community has been incredible,” said AHFAS Chief Tom Hayden. “Their generosity will go a long way to help many people in the area during the holiday season.”
The “Santa Runs” are an annual mission by the AHFAS to engaged with the youngest members of the community – along with their families – in a non-emergency way. The visits are accompanied by flashing lights, sirens and holiday music. Residents were able to track Santa’s progress on Facebook and Twitter, with several residents posting pictures of Santa and their children. This year the “Santa Runs” got special assistance from AHFAS treasurer Walter Curry, Atlantic Highlands Mayor Fred Rast, Atlantic Highlands Councilman Roy Dellosso, and Gordon Saunders.
The AHFAS is an all-volunteer emergency medical and rescue services operation that operates on the generous donations from the borough and its residents. For information on how you can become a part of this dynamic organization call (732) 291-8118. Follow the AHFAS on Facebook and Twitter.