One Year Ago We Lost Someone Very Special

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Sep 232020

It’s hard to believe that one year ago today on Sept. 23, 2019, we lost Annie  “Elf Mama,” “Cookie Mama,” Davis.

Immediately after learning of this sad news, I (Terri Miles) began collecting money with which to purchase a memorial bench for Annie so no one ever forgets her or her contributions to the town of Orange.

Annie was the driving force behind the Santa’s Helper fundraising program that brought joy to hundreds of Orange residents each year and brought in badly needed funds to the Orange Volunteer Fire Department for the purchase of gear or whatever it needed at the time.

She spent several months each year organizing the event so it ran without a hitch, as long as everyone followed her directions to the letter. She’d call me at lunchtime from her work office and let me know that a press release was in the works and that I could edit it anyway I’d like, to make it “fun.”

She was known for her love of baking and the delicious cookies she made for the police, fire, CERT, and EMT members at big community events such as the Orange Country Fair, Firemen’s Carnival, and, of course in the break room during Santa’s Helper night.

She was a dedicated and founding member of the Orange Community Emergency Response Team (CERT).

As many of you know, all of the necessary funds finally came through, and with the assistance of CERT member, and Annie’s longtime friend, Ken Lyke, the bench was ordered and we are just waiting for its’ delivery.

With the first selectman’s approval, we found the perfect location for the bench and we will host a social distancing dedication ceremony for all of the wonderful people who donated money for the bench.


If you helped the cause by donating to the Annie Davis Memorial Bench Fund, please send me an e-mail at orangectlive01@gmail.com expressing your interest in joining us for the dedication. (Put in your two cents for Saturday or Sunday – 11 a.m. or 1 p.m.)

At this time I don’t know the exact date because we don’t have it yet, BUT it will take place on a weekend giving everyone a fair shake at having a vote on the most convenient day and time.

The dedication will be limited to ONLY those who made a donation. Without YOU this memorial would not be possible.

Santa’s Helper 2019: Making Elf Mama Proud This Weekend

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Dec 102019

Please be advised, Santa’s Helper 2019 has a NEW DATE!!! Saturday, December 14, 2019, Santa will arrive between 2:00 and 8:00 P.M.

Our Santa Teams at the Orange Volunteer Fire Department Auxiliary are busy getting ready for our 25th year of delivering gifts, smiles, and fun to dozens of families in Orange.

Santa’s Helper is a wonderful, exciting and memorable fund-raising event with all of the proceeds going to the Orange Volunteer Fire Department for purchasing life-saving equipment.

Each year, our 6 Santa’s Helper Teams are excited to visit and deliver gifts, take photos and help make lasting memories and traditions for every family.  Children and adults alike look forward with excited anticipation to seeing the fire trucks with lights and sirens coming down their street to their front door, with Santa leading the way!




Gift drop off has already taken place, so get ready for delivery day!

There is a small fee of $19.00 per gift/recipient. Each gift must be INDIVIDUALLY wrapped in your favorite holiday paper with an overwrap of plain brown paper. The name and delivery address of the recipient must be clearly printed on the outside of each gift. 

Santa has a lot of gifts to deliver, so please, no gifts too large or too heavy, Santa appreciates that. We encourage you to try to have all the gifts for your visit with you on Gift Drop-Off day. Please contact us for special directions if you have a large party or a large number of gifts.


We hope to make our Elf Mama proud this year, and most importantly, the show will go on.

Sincerely, the OVFD Auxiliary

Obituary: Anne V. Davis, 60, Beloved Mother, Friend, “Elf Mama”

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Sep 272019

Anne V. Davis, 60, of Orange, passed away peacefully on Monday, September 23, 2019, at Yale-New Haven Hospital with her family by her side.

Anne was born in New Haven on August 24, 1959, and was the daughter of the late Joseph and Carmela Constantino Carangelo.

She had worked as a Legal Assistant at Subway World Headquarters, Milford, where she made hundreds of friends around the office and around the world. One of her favorites was a young man who would send her photos from his travels, particularly beautiful shots of the Northern Lights from Norway.

Anne was a parishioner of St. Anthony’s Church, New Haven and every year looked forward to working its feast, and all of the cooking she’d do beforehand.

She was the heart and soul of the “Santa’s Helper” event for the Orange Volunteer Fire Department which she organized for the past 20 years. She also was a founding member of the Orange CERT, (Community Emergency Response Team).

Anne always put others above herself and worked tirelessly to help make Orange a better place.

She was known to many as “Cookie Mama” and spent countless hours in her kitchen baking delicious treats for OVFD auxiliary fundraisers and events when her CERT colleagues would be working.

For the past six months, she has had her “Elf Mama” hat on, working on organizing this year’s Santa’s Helper fundraising event to benefit the OVFD. She’s dreamed of one day getting out of the dispatch center to see first-hand how her “baby” works, after hearing thousands of stories from the firefighters and Santa after they return from their special pre-Christmas visits each year.

Anne left an impression with everyone she met. Once she was your friend, she was your friend forever. She touched the lives of so many and is sorely missed by everyone who knew her.

Mother of Michael Davis. Sister of Carl (Michele) Carangelo. Aunt of Joseph (fiancé Corrianne Dionne) Carangelo and Nicole Carangelo.

The visiting hours will be on Saturday morning from 8 to 9:30 a.m. at the North Haven Funeral Home, 36 Washington Avenue. Her funeral procession will leave the funeral home at 9:30 a.m. A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated in St. Anthony Church, 70 Washington Avenue, New Haven at 10 a.m. Interment will be private and at the convenience of the family.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 262 Danny Thomas Place, Memphis, TN 38105.

Hey Orange! Get Ready For Santa’s Helper 2016

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Oct 042016

On of 2015's happy families

One of 2015’s happy families

By now, nearly everyone has heard about the always popular, and exciting Santa’s Helper program from the Orange Volunteer Fire Department Auxiliary that has been delivering gifts, smiles and memories to hundreds of Orange families for the past 21 years. 

If you want to join in on the fun and have Santa, on his fire truck, with his elf and firefighter helpers come lights and sirens to your home, it’s easy.  E-mail Elf Mama at:  ofdsantashelper@aol.com for all the information you will need.

(Please do not call the fire stations as we are a volunteer fire department and there will not be anyone available to help you with Santa’s Helper). 

Santa’s Helper delivery day is Saturday, December 17, 2016, so don’t hesitate to contact Elf Mama. 

Plans are under way and you won’t want to miss out on being one of the 170 homes throughout Orange to have Santa stop by your house this December.

A Look Back: Santa’s Helper 2015

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Dec 312015

IMG_7998It’s been such a busy month with lots of activities and end of year demands that some things we cover slip through the cracks.

One of the most rewarding events of the year is the Orange Volunteer Fire Department’s Santa’s Helper fundraiser.

For two decades the Orange firefighters, under the leadership of Elf Mama Annie Davis have been helping Santa and his elves make some early Christmas present deliveries to good boys and girls around town.

Sometimes Santa has a few extra minutes to sing a carol or two, or grab a fresh baked cookie for the road. Many children heard Santa tell the story of why he was there a week before Christmas and how he came to arrive on a fire truck instead of his sleigh.

This year Santa even assisted a young man in making a very special marriage proposal that his future wife will never forget.

Here are some photos from that special night. Elf Mama already is working on organizing the 2016 Santa’s Helper event. Everyone have a safe and happy New Year’s Eve and Happy New Year!

Orange’s Santa’s Helper Is World Famous

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Jan 152015

Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 6.38.37 PMThe Orange Volunteer Fire Department’s Santa’s Helper program has gone global, and our own “Elf Mama” Annie Davis has been getting phone calls from around the world since a Subway company newsletter was delivered to EVERY Subway from here to Timbuktu and beyond.

Davis, an associate member of the OVFD, who began the Santa’s Helper fundraiser 20 years ago to raise money to buy rescue equipment for Orange’s all-volunteer Fire Department, also happens to work at Subway World Headquarters in Milford.

When someone in the office learned about the unique program, and that another employee, Eric Sudol, who also is a Subway Shop franchisee, fed Santa and his elves on Santa’s Helper delivery night with 80 SUBWAY to Go! boxed meals (prepared by 3 Sandwich Artists— Debbie, Donna and Kim — at his Milford store) She gathered information and wrote a little story for the company newsletter.

Davis said she’s received requests for information from several people from across the country who are interested in starting Santa’s Helper programs for their own volunteer fire departments. (Something she is happy to provide)

Davis works on the project 9 months (or more) each year — really! It’s a lot of work, but she loves the energy that abounds when Santa and the elves return to the station after they deliver the gifts, and the response she gets from families after their visits.




Santa’s Helper: Krista’s Best Memory Revealed

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Dec 152014


This is a file photo from a similar event.

Best Santa’s Helper story!

As Christmas 2010 approached my two young daughters, Erin age 9 and Kelsey age 11, were looking forward to Christmas.  As we had done every year since we moved to Orange we had dropped off a gift for each with Mama Elf and were looking forward to Santa’s visit on December 19th.

Then came a shock.  My father had been battling Acute Myeloid Leukemia since late September and had been doing very well. It was a struggle but he had had some good test results just before Thanksgiving and we thought he was on the way to recovery.  But on Dec. 14th he took a very sudden turn for the worse and he passed away on Dec. 15th.  His wake was scheduled for December 19th and the funeral for December 20th.

My daughters had been very close with their grandfather and took his passing hard.  Our family would still find a way to get through the holidays for them but with the wake on Sunday we would not be around for Santa’s visit.

My husband Bob went down to the firehouse to explain to Mama Elf that he would like to retrieve the presents we had dropped off and tell Santa not to stop at our house.  To his surprise she wouldn’t hear of it.  She asked him to leave the presents and she would see if a few of the firemen would be willing to come another night. Arrangements were made for Tuesday or Wednesday the following week (honestly, I have no idea what day it was since my brain was in a fog).  We didn’t tell the girls because we wanted it to be a surprise.

Well, we were all surprised!  That evening 5 fire trucks came through our neighborhood  with lights flashing and sirens blaring!!!  There were a bunch of other vehicles parking on our street  too!  Firemen and elves were everywhere!  The firemen formed a double line from the street to our front door and Santa and his elves and helpers all came down the aisle and into our house!

Apparently when Mama Elf asked for a few volunteers to make the special visit to my family ALL the firemen and women, Santa and elves volunteered!  Every individual that came into our house offered their condolences and wished the girls a Merry Christmas.  They brought us candy canes and beautiful snowflake ornaments for our tree that we gladly hang every year.  It was a magical night for my girls.

I am so happy to have a chance to share with everyone the most wonderful and moving moment of our very difficult Christmas and to thank Mama Elf, Santa, the elves and all the fantastic volunteers at the Orange Fire Department.  Their compassion and thoughtfulness are true examples of the Christmas spirit!

Merry Christmas,

Krista McCormack

Share The Magic: Orange Live Santa’s Helper Contest

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Dec 132014

The look of wonder on their faces speaks volumes.

The look of wonder on their faces speaks volumes.

Santa’s Helper is one of the Orange Volunteer Fire Department’s most magical traditions.

Now in its 20th year, Orange Live is asking participants to share their most treasured memories of Santa’s Helper and what it’s meant to you and your family.

Send us an e-mail to orangectlive01@gmail.com (this is NOT a Link) with “Santa’s Helper” in the subject line by Saturday, Dec. 20. Include a Photo of your special Santa’s Helper visit with your submission if you have one.

Orange Live will publish as many of your stories as possible. Then, Elf Mama, who’s been the backbone of the event for two decades, along with firefighters and elves, will choose their favorite one(s) and the winner(s) will receive a special prize.





Hundreds Of Good Boys and Girls Get An Early Visit From Santa

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Dec 162013

One of my favorite photos of the night. It's classic!

One of my favorite photos of the night. It’s classic!

The sound of fire engine sirens echoed on the streets of Orange Sunday afternoon and into the evening as the Orange Volunteer Firefighters helped Santa make some very special stops to hundreds of children of all ages.

Here is a photo spread of some of these stops. Residents who were aware of the visit were kind enough to plow or snow blow their driveways and front walks so Santa, the firefighters and elf were safe. (and it was greatly appreciated)

Some children were thrilled to see Santa right in their living rooms, others (mostly baby girls) cried because they didn’t know what to make of him.

Elf Mama and her control room dispatchers had a trying day back at the firehouse because a Cablevision wire was down somewhere, causing the phone line to die.

Anxious residents who were unaware of that situation, flooded the police dispatch lines with Santa’s Helper calls and it was frustrating for everyone involved — Elf Mama, the police, the fire truck driver AND residents.

But, in the end, it all worked out all right.




Elf Mama: Santa’s Helper Still Has A Couple of Openings

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Nov 182012

Out of the elements, the serpentine fire hose line led to the registration desk.

The Orange Fire Station #2 was abuzz with activity yesterday as residents in the know gathered to register for the popular Santa’s Helper Program.

People lined up inside the fire truck bay walking along a serpentine path made of fire hose.
Elf Mama said everyone was polite and patient this year and after several hours the entire line was taken care of.
Since some residents read the wrong date in a newspaper recently, they may still believe that drop off is tomorrow. This is not the case.
Santa’s Helper is an Auxiliary program, separate from the fire department, so Elf Mama stresses that you should not call the fire department with Santa’s Helper inquiries.
She sent the following message today.
OVFD Santa’s Helper Note: 
Elf Mama would like all to know that there are still some spots available to sign up for the exciting and fun Santa’s Helper event.
For information on how to sign up, email her at: ofdsantashelper@aol.com 
Don’t miss out on seeing your child’s faces as Santa arrives on his fire truck with lights and sirens to delivery your gifts. Ask any parent in Orange, it’s a sight to behold!
Please do not call the fire stations, as there will not be anyone available there to assist you with Santa’s Helper information. 
The Orange Volunteer Fire Department thanks you and wishes you a happy, healthy and SAFE Holiday Season!