CORTLANDT, N.Y. – Santa’s Helpers at Hudson Valley Hospital Center in Cortlandt Manor spent the afternoon on Wednesday wrapping mountains of presents to make wishes come true for local children and their families.
The staff wrapped more than 800 gifts that will be donated to local social services agencies and delivered to families in need. Pajamas and books, dolls, trucks, musical instruments and art supplies, boots, socks and tons of other toys, clothing and gifts were packaged in a few hours.
This year – the 18th year of Santa’s Helpers – the hospital is spending $125 per child on 93 children. The Santa’s Helpers project is also delivering gifts to 44 families and one group home.
Sue Lepore, facilitator of the program in the administration office at the hospital, said she has seen a change over the years as larger donors step forward to make up for those who are affected in a down economy.
This year, the Paramount Theatre donated $600 from the proceeds of its Dec.8 performance of "The Nutcracker." Kitah Hay (fifth-grade) at the Reform Temple of Putnam Valley raised more than $500, shopping and wrapping gifts for five children.
“We had some very generous anonymous donations this year,’’ said Lepore. “These children ask for so little, some asking only for basic necessities such as shampoo and blankets. We try to meet those requests and then add a little extra to make it a holiday to remember.’’
Hospital employees held several fund-raisers as well including three days when employees paid $10 each to wear denim to work and six 50/50 raffles.
Hudson Valley Hospital Center is at 1980 Crompond Rd. (Route 202) in Cortlandt Manor, N.Y.