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Globe Santa

Globe Santa, friends bring joy to many

Mary Ann Milano-Picardi and Joe Milano, co-owners of Ye Olde Union Oyster House in Boston, presented William Connolly with a $5,000 check for Globe Santa.

Mary O’Connor for The Boston Globe

Mary Ann Milano-Picardi and Joe Milano, co-owners of Ye Olde Union Oyster House in Boston, presented William Connolly with a $5,000 check for Globe Santa.

This year, 49,147 children in 28,058 families across 189 Massachusetts cities and towns will open Christmas gifts from Globe Santa, thanks to thousands upon thousands of heartfelt donations.

It was the 57th Christmas that Globe Santa and his friends had provided gifts for needy families who were faced with serious financial, medical, or other problems that made it impossible for them to afford gifts of their own.

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Over those years, Globe Santa has visited 2,756,923 children in 1,098,591 families. Donors have given $42,354,044 and counting.

This year, 24,088 girls and 25,059 boys, infants to 12 years, received gifts through the program.

Each year the money that is contributed is used to buy gifts for the next Christmas with professional buyers starting the task as early as spring, purchasing gifts that are then delivered to the Globe facility in Millbury.

On Christmas Eve, Santa staffers were busy cross-checking lists with the help of postal workers to make sure that all of the packages had been delivered. Other members of Globe Santa’s staff were processing contributions – all donations received by Jan. 1 will be applied to this year’s total.

In looking over the thousands of names, it was noted that many of the contributions again came from people who received gifts from the program as children, going back to the first years of the Globe Santa fund drive.

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Other donations included notes that told Globe Santa they were passing a family tradition of from one generation to another.

It will be a few weeks before all of the work associated with the Christmas 2012 Globe Santa Fund is complete, but executive director William Connolly said that each year there are new contributors who give generously.

This year, those include the Kelly Automotive Group, which raised funds through a raffle with the prize being a 2012 Fiat 500 Pop. Another fund-raiser noted by Connolly was a Golf Day at the Weston Golf Club championed by Jason Kissell and The Boston Globe Advertising Team.

Each year, there are also major contributions made to Globe Santa by foundations. Joining the group this year were the David G. Mugar Foundation and the Herb Chambers Foundation, Connolly said.

In recent years, the most visible aspect of the annual campaign has been the Globe Santa sleigh. This year, the sleigh made 26 visits to various locations in Greater Boston. Many political, business, radio and television, and sports personalities joined Globe Santa and chatted with the children and adults that had come by to make donations.

Another growing number of contributors are those who make their donations online, and often send touching messages as to why they are joining Santa’s Friends.

And always a happy moment for Globe Santa is when contributions arrive from schoolchildren and other youth groups, to be added to his Children Helping Children list.

Meanwhile, Globe Santa staffers were busy Monday putting the finishing touches on the 2012 campaign and starting to think about what might be done in 2013 to make that campaign an equal success.

On Christmas Day, the Cable News Network program “CNN Giving In Focus” will also include a 90-second segment on the Globe Santa Fund.

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