The Orange Volunteer Fire Department Auxiliary’s 2016 Santa’s Helper program took place on Saturday, Dec. 17 from 2-8 p.m.
This was quite a change from what was traditionally held on a Sunday, one week before Christmas.
Some participants worried that the deliveries would be canceled because of the early morning snowfall, followed by freezing rain, but by 2 p.m. the skies were clear and the fire truck rolled out of the station with Santa, his elves and firefighters on board ready to spread some early Christmas cheer.
The elves handed out little packets of fruit snacks, which proved to be more popular than candy canes with kids of all ages.
Most children couldn’t wait to get close to Santa, yet there are still some who were shy and seemed overwhelmed by the personal visit. But Santa always knows what to do. For one little girl who clung to her mommie, Santa kept talking until he broke through the shell, asking her to reach inside his big red sack and see what he brought for her from the North Pole.
The child opened a square box and and her eyes flew open wide when she saw fairies having a tea party with a string of tiny bright lights illuminating the scene.
She was too shy to say much of anything to Santa or his elves but once they left the house, she simply couldn’t get enough of her special gift. — How did Santa know she loves fairies?
At other homes the children lined up by the door or ran across the snow covered lawn and couldn’t wait to share stories with Santa.
They waited patiently for Santa to call their names and hand out their gifts, and they happily snuggled up with him for their group photo.
This year there were a couple of hiccups, with a few icy roads that had the most experienced truck drivers calling for the highway department to sand so they could continue their route.
Fire calls during Santa’s Helper are rare, but they do happen, and when the tone goes off, they respond as usual, because delivery day is a regular fire department day. So when someone burns cookies or has a chimney fire, the volunteer firefighters arrive with a special guest in tow.
Santa’s Helper brings joy to hundreds of children (and adults) each year. Rest assured that when Santa returns to the fire station he and his elves share countless stories with Elf Mama and the home team, for it brings them a lot of joy too.