ahfas santa food donationPHOTO: AHFAS Chief Jerry Pandolfo (L) and President Paul Sully (R) visit with AACC Director Helen Marchetti (C) when they stopped by to drop off hundreds of food items donated by borough residents during the squad's recent Santa Runs.

ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS, NJ - Atlantic Highlands residents opened their cabinets and donated hundreds of non-perishable food items as part of the Atlantic Highlands First Aid & Safety Squad’s annual “Santa Runs” events.

The items, which were collected by Santa and his elves during the four-day event, were delivered the AACC Food Pantry in Atlantic Highlands by AHFAS Chief Jerry Pandolfo and President Paul Sully.

Residents responded to the AHFAS’ request for donations by meeting Santa with bags and boxes of food and other household items. The donations all go directly to help area residents in need.

“The response from residents to the food drive has been overwhelming,” says Chief Jerry Pandolfo.

“A lot of local families will be helped because of the generosity of the residents during the ‘Santa Runs,’” says President Paul Sully.

ahfas santa julie barradalePHOTO: Atlantic Highlands resident Julie Barradale takes time to say hello to Santa during the AHFAS' Santa Runs.

For the past several years, the AHFAS incorporated a food drive into the annual “Santa Runs,” which feature squad elves helping bring Santa throughout the borough. During the trips, Santa travels with the assistance of AHFAS ambulances using a specially built sleigh. Along the way, Santa spends time with children posing for pictures, listening to holiday lists and providing a little joy during the holiday season.

The “Santa Runs” are an annual mission by the AHFAS to engage with the community during the holiday season. Each night squad members head out with Santa, who is accompanied by sirens and holiday music. As in past years, residents were able to track Santa’s progress on Facebook and Twitter, with several posting pictures of Santa and their children.

This year the “Santa Runs” got special assistance from Atlantic Highlands Mayor Fred Rast, Highlands Councilman Roy Dellosso, and Gordon and Kate 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 or check out the squad’s website at ww.ahfirstaid.org. Follow the AHFAS on Facebook and Twitter.