Volunteers dressed as Santa, Mrs. Claus and elves pose for a photo before heading out for an evening of toy deliveries. – Courtesy photo / Jaycees
For the 86th year, the Pasadena Jaycees and dozens of volunteers will be dressing up as Santa, Mrs. Claus and elves on Dec. 24 to deliver toys to children in the community. Children from all over Pasadena have spent the last month writing letters to Santa, and on Christmas Eve, their wishes will come true as Santa teams hand-deliver the gifts they have asked for.
Children with greater needs are given highest priority, and this year, special attention will be paid to emphasizing books and STEM-related toys. Additionally, while the Operation Santa project was originally rooted in the Christmas holiday, children from all backgrounds and religions are encouraged to write letters to celebrate the season.
“Operation Santa changed my life,” says Pasadena resident and former Jaycee President, Todd Vradenburg. “I’ll always remember gathering at my aunt’s house in Northwest Pasadena on Christmas Eve and waiting for the Santa visit. Years later, when I learned of the Jaycees and discovered that they were responsible for one of the biggest highlights of my childhood, it was at that moment that I understood what giving back is about. I joined the Jaycees and became a Santa. Every time I put on that suit and take gifts to kids, I get to relive my childhood. Words cannot explain the joy that it brings me.”
Those interested in volunteering to deliver toys as part of a Santa team are still able to sign up at opsanta.com. Santas will check in the morning of Dec. 24 at 9 a.m. and get their toy delivery routes assigned. They will then be provided dinner at 4 p.m., followed by Santa training. Then, the teams of Santa get the chance to go out to spread toys and cheer to Pasadena children.
The Pasadena Jaycees are accepting letters to Santa submitted digitally at opsanta.com through Dec. 20.