~Submitted by the Bedford Community Santa Program
It’s a funny thing mentioning Bedford Santa in town, many people know the guy who started it way back when. And it’s never the same person.
That’s likely because the Bedford Community Santa program has been going on for 76 years and the folks who volunteer for the program tend to stick around for decades.
Bedford Santa was started in the 1940s by Clayton Morrill, a Select Board member who felt moved to start a program where any child in the Town of Bedford could receive a visit and gift delivered by Santa on Christmas Eve.
And that’s what still happens today. The program is supported by donations and run entirely by volunteers. A dedicated group of nearly 100 volunteers work to create a magical moment for any child in a Bedford home on Christmas Eve (December 24).
Families that register will drop off gifts the Saturday before Christmas Eve to the middle school gym (Gift Drop Day is December 17 this year) and Santa is expected to visit homes between 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Christmas Eve (December 24).
Bedford Santa welcomes and invites any resident in Bedford who will have children, ages 12 and under, home on Christmas Eve to register. The program is free to participate. There are no requirements to register.
Many of our volunteers and participants do not celebrate Christmas; they just enjoy the December 24 tradition year after year.
Small gifts are supplied for families with financial constraints with no questions asked (other than a child’s age and interests).
Bedford Santa has a history of understanding, patience, and compassion for children with special needs and encourages everyone interested to request a visit.
Grandchildren, cousins, and family friends are invited. The children visited do not need to be Bedford residents. Out of town guests can register and be visited at a Bedford address. Children over the age of 12 are welcome to receive gifts when Santa visits younger children.
Visits are quick. Santa speaks to each child interested, gifts are distributed, and a picture is taken. Then Santa needs to get on their way to the next home. Similarly, volunteering is just a few hours.
Anyone interested in registering for a visit, making a donation, registering to volunteer, or finding out more information can register at www.bedfordsanta.com or email [email protected]. Please try to register by December 5th to allow for planning and recruitment.
The Bedford Santa Program wishes everyone a healthy, happy, and safe Holiday Season.