MONROE COUNTY, Pa. — John Schwartz is known for representing Santa at holiday events all over the Stroudsburg area. On this day, he got into the Christmas spirit as he and his wife donated dozens of lanyards with a small notepad and a pen to Monroe County Meals on Wheels.
The items will be given as gifts for the clients they serve this holiday season.
"It's to help the people that are shut in and can't get out. You know, whether they be disabled or whatever, and it just gives us a good feeling to help people out, especially at Christmas time," said Schwartz.
For several years, Meals on Wheels has provided each of its clients with a present for Christmas as part of a holiday drive. Many of the people they serve are homebound and don't have family nearby.
"For some of our clients, it's the only gift they do get to unwrap. We're asking for donations of small items — things like lap blankets, flashlights, playing cards, things like that. There's a list on our website that people can look at, and there's even an option this year to see our holiday gift wish online," said Stacy Koeck with Monroe County Meals on Wheels.
Once all the presents are collected, volunteers who are part of the Santa Squad will personally bring gifts to each client in hopes of making their holidays brighter.
"The look on the faces of the people that you deliver the gifts to and their appreciation. You can just see the love," said Kelly Pisciotti, a Santa Squad volunteer.
The organizers hope that, even with rising prices, that person will still donate a gift to the drive this holiday season.
"I think a lot of what the community does for us is that they help us in small ways, but together all those small ways really add up," said Koeck.
Community members interested in donating still have time to drop off unwrapped presents at Monroe County Meals on Wheels.
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