Many of the students live at St Mary's School for the Deaf during the week and getting gifts from Santa helps to make them feel right at home.
Nick Barrus recalls the first time he saw Santa at his school. “The first time I saw Santa here I was so excited I wanted to cry,” he said.
Now five years later, he and others at his school are still benefiting from Operation Santa Claus, a program that gives you the opportunity to donate toys to children like Barrus and others across Western New York.
“Here we make it like a family. Santa shows up and gives gifts with a wonderful party afterward,” Dorm Supervisor Mark Dulakis said.
“Since I've been coming here it has become a home. Giving and receiving gifts make a home environment here,” Student Jasmine Hollingsworth said.
The students not only get gifts and benefits from Operation Santa Claus but they say they are also inspired to give back.
“We've donated presents for Roswell to poor people and sick children. It made us happy to see a smile on their face,” Barrus said.
Principal Aimee Bell said the program is not only about getting gifts but also showing students there are people who care.
“It’s an awesome opportunity for the students to feel love during the holidays. It helps them mingle with their friends receive gifts they may not be able to receive at home," Bell said.
Barrus said his favorite part is seeing the younger children meet Santa. “We have the event and we see Santa giving gifts to the younger kids and it's just beautiful."
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