BRISTOL - Guests will get to give their own gifts at the 24th Annual Breakfast with Santa this Saturday at Giamatti Little League Center.
The event is put on by the Secret Santa Society, who will collect money or new unwrapped toys to give to students at six schools and the Bristol Head Start Program.
The money raised for admission to the feast of eggs, pancakes, home fries, sausage and more, will be used to buy winter coats and boots for children in need.
They usually collect anything for 5th graders and younger.
“Whatever anyone wants to donate, we always find a home for it,” said Don Soucy, an organizer of the Secret Santa Society.
The schools give the society information about what sizes and quantities are needed and the toys are split between them. There is also a teens’ Christmas party where they distribute gift cards in mid-December.
“When talking about toys and coats, the teens are usually a forgotten group, so we buy gift cards for them,” Soucy said.
The Secret Santa Society does not personally give any of the gifts to the children. It is all done through supervisors at the schools and the Bristol Head Start Program.
The fundraiser began 26 years ago with a group in Bristol who started donating coats to a school and word of the group spread. Soon other schools called saying they had some children who came in without coats.
“It mushroomed from there,” Soucy said. “We were able to get all the elementary schools involved.”
The group developed a donor list over the years and sent out letters asking people to give money, toys, coats, hats or mittens.
Soucy, who has been part of the Secret Santa Society since its founding, said “I don’t know how long I will be doing it. As long as there is a need, I suppose I can.”
Each year they have raised over $6000.
Breakfast with Santa will take place from 8 to 11 a.m. at Giamatti Little League Center Dining Hall, 335 Mix St. Tickets are $5 for adults or a new unwrapped toy and free for children 12 and under. Guests can also bring a camera to take pictures with Santa Claus.
Donations can be dropped off at Eastern Region Little League during business hours or 566 Willis St., Bristol.
For more information, email Don at firstname.lastname@example.org.