New Online Special Santa Program Seeks Community Support

Like so many parts of our lives, Special Santa has moved online due to COVID-19. And Hillside is calling on the communities we serve to help make this program successful once again.

For more than 35 years, the Special Santa program has brought together countless thousands of generous individuals, businesses and volunteers in a shared act of community spirit—to ensure many children served by Hillside can enjoy toys and gifts during the holiday season. Last year alone, the program put more than 12,000 gifts in the hands of 4,500 children and families in need.

COVID-19 prompted the 2020 program to shift to an all-online model that asks the community to use Amazon Smile Charity Lists that have been created by Hillside staff this season. Each of the 19 lists features specific gift requests made by youth in our programs. As the gifts are ordered throughout the season, they will be delivered to specific program locations for Hillside staff to get them to families.

“We couldn’t let COVID-19 stop Special Santa,” said Maria Cristalli, President & CEO. “This online model will help thousands of young people served by Hillside get the happy holidays they deserve. And community support is the real holiday magic that makes it all happen.”

Supporters can also make monetary donations to help defray program costs. Full details about how to participate are available at www.hillside.com/special-santa.

Hillside is profoundly grateful to our community partners who have helped to ensure the success of Special Santa 2020, and especially our sponsors Canandaigua National Bank & Trust and Lamar Advertising.