Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County-- Santa will have plenty of helpers in the Wyoming Valley this year working to ensure a happy holiday season for all children.
The Valley Santa program is a massive volunteer effort approaching three decades of good deeds.
Reading children's letters, shopping for the items on their lists, and wrapping them up all in time for a Christmas delivery-- over 300 volunteers will brighten the holidays for more than 4,000 children.
Suzanne Mattern, of Dallas, explained, "It's people in our community that need help for one reason or another, whether it's illness or job loss. It could easily happen to anyone. So, just knowing that the kids are going to have a little something on Christmas morning is nice."
This group shares a lot of laughs as they pick out items and cross them off their lists at Boscov's department store each week through November and December.
Carlie Wetzel's been involved for quite some time.
Wetzel, of Kingston, noted, "I worked in social services, and worked with families. So I knew about Valley Santa. And about 20 years ago someone said, 'Hey, why don't you join in?' So, I jumped in!"
The Valley Santa program is run completely through the efforts of dedicated volunteers and community donations.
Marietta Wisnewski is another long-time volunteer.
A stroke sidelined her in 2007, but this year she's just as determined to spread the holiday cheer as ever before.
Wisnewski, of Exeter, said, "Oh, I'm back. I love this, I mean I really do. It makes my Christmas season. It feels wonderful. Especially children, I mean every child should have a present at Christmas time."
Donations to the Valley Santa program can be made at any local Citizens' Bank branch.
And we're told they always welcome additional volunteers.