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The Boston Globe

Metro

Globe Santa

56,665 children receive presents from Globe Santa

Mary O’Connor for The Boston Globe

Mary Ann Milano-Picardi (left) and Joe Milano (right) gave their donation to Globe Santa’s William Connolly.

The weather could not have been nicer last night and early today as Globe Santa completed the task of delivering gifts to 56,665 children in 32,240 families across some 185 cities and towns in Eastern Massachusetts.

The bringing of joy to so many children was made possible through the continued generosity each year of thousands of Globe Santa Friends.

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This year marked the 56th Christmas that Globe Santa and his Friends have been bringing delight to children in needy families who were with faced with serious financial,, medical, or other problems which had made it impossible for them to be able afford gifts for their children.

In Christmas 2010, Globe Santa provided gifts for 56,190 children in 32,363 families. During the 55 years prior to this Christmas Globe Santa and his Friends had provided 13,307,000 gifts for 2,655,945 children in 1,038,225 families.

And while the task of getting the gifts to a record number of families was completed by Globe Santa with the help of the men and women of the US Postal Service, other members of the Globe Santa staff were still receiving and tallying contributions to this season’s fund-raising campaign.

Yesterday the funds tabulated thus far had again exceeded $1,000,000, and it was expected that when the current campaign concludes on Jan. 6 the final amount contributed this year will be close to the $1,413,667.99 contributed in 2010. The most ever raised in one year was $1,457,508 in 2000.

This year again saw an increase in the amounts of money contributed online and it was expected that total by early next week would exceed $500,000.

The Globe will continue to publish lists of contributors to the Globe Santa Fund through the first week of January.

This year had some very special moments. The Improv Asylum, a theater group in the city’s North End, raised $41,004 during its 24-hour marathon of comedy and fund-raising. The partnerships with The Rockettes and The Peter Pan show added as much as $10,000 to the Santa Fund and a new group, The Spirited Bostonians, raised more than $16,000 for the Santa Fund.

Among the many year in and year out contributors to the Santa Fund was the Milano family, longtime owners of the Union Oyster House, who donated $10,000.

Santa also is again grateful to the many political, business, entertainment, radio and television, and sports personalities who each year join Santa on his “sleigh visits’’ to various parts of Greater Boston so Santa can talk to children and their families and at the same time receive cash donations.

And while the work of Santa’s staff on the 2011 campaign is winding down, in the early months of next year Globe Santa will be starting setting the 2012 campaign in motion with buyers attending various toy shows to order the gifts for Christmas 2012.

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