Local high school students gave both Santa and the community a helping hand Christmas Eve, spreading holiday cheer to deserving families in our area.
Students at Nazareth Academy, an all-girls Roman Catholic high school in Northeast Philadelphia, dressed up as Santa and his elves as they delivered presents to around 200 local children.
It was all part of “Operation Santa Claus,” an Archdiocese tradition that used to occur in all Catholic high schools in the region but underwent several cuts in 2012 after the Archdiocese condensed the Catholic Youth Organization Office. Nazareth Academy is one of the few high schools in the area that still participates in the program.
Students, staff and parents raised money for the gifts. A dozen teams of students then personally delivered presents to the children Wednesday morning and afternoon.
“It’s just really a beautiful gift of Christmas,” said Sister Mary Anthony Lovezzola of Nazareth Academy. “A lot of times people lose the Christmas spirit, but this is really what it’s about. It’s about the gift of the heart.”
Robin Garland of Nicetown was in tears after the students gave presents to her 11-year-old son and 8-year-old daughter.
“They know about the birth of Christ, Garland said. “They know the whole story of Christmas. What I really wanted for Christmas was for them to be happy. It’s not about me. It’s about them.”