Arctic League begins packing up Christmas gifts

Local News

Santa’s helpers are getting toys ready for the Arctic League’s big holiday event.  

Boxes upon boxes of toys got opened and organized, all getting ready to surprise a child in Chemung County on Christmas Day.

“There is no child that goes without a toy and doesn’t have a Christmas,” Bob Haskins, the Arctic League’s Assistant Packing Director, said. “That’s the main goal, we don’t want any child in Chemung County not to have Christmas.”

The volunteers were from various organizations such as the Kiwanis club, Headstart and The United Baptist Church.

“I just love it, it’s so much fun,” Nancy Twist, a coordinator with United Baptist Church, said. “It’s rewarding, it really is.”

She’s volunteered since 2007, helping out bundling and bagging toys so the big man himself– Santa Claus– can deliver it all.

Well, it’s not really him. The toys also get delivered by the volunteers.

“Some people come at midnight and they’ll stand in line,” Haskins said. “We open the door at 6 a.m. on Christmas morning and start handing out the bags of gifts.”

The toys gets get organized by age and gender. It all goes down an assembly line of volunteers until it reaches the end where the toys are bagged to be shipped out.

“They all have the address on, and they deliver them, knock on the door and deliver them,” Haskins said. “It takes about an hour to get all the bags out.”

At the end of the day, Nancy says it’s a blessing knowing children will be having a Happy Christmas.

“Knowing we’re doing something good and making others happy and it’s just a lot of fun to do it together,” Twist said. “You meet new people every year and you know some of the older ones.”

Haskins says anyone can volunteer delivering the toys. Anyone interested can appear at the Arctic League located at 249 Clinton Street in Elmira before 6 a.m. on Christmas Day (Monday, December 25)

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