TORRINGTON – Santa’s Helpers, a Torrington area community service organization dedicated to providing for families in need, provided over 250 people with a traditional Christmas meal. Santa’s Helpers has put on the event for the past two and a half decades and isn’t looking to stop now.
Event organizer Shawn Madden told The Telegram this year’s event would have to be modified due to restrictions on gatherings in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Regardless, Madden and co-organizer Louis Kuhnel were undeterred.
This year’s event, held on Saturday, Dec. 19, around noon, served over 250 people. The event provided a chance for in-need children, aged 0-15 years of age, to meet Santa Claus, receive age-appropriate gifts and be outfitted with warm gloves and a winter hat.
Kuhnel told The Telegram previous years’ events had served between 460-480 people per event. The Goshen County Rendezvous Center is usually decorated in holiday decorum and provides the children an opportunity to have their picture taken with Santa Clause, in addition to the traditional holiday meal and gifts.
Kuhnel said the Torrington High School Wrestling Club has volunteered for the past 20 years to decorate the center for the event but was not involved this year due to the restricted event with less set up required. Kuhnel said several community organizations are also typically involved and provide a large number of donations to conduct the event.
In the past, members of Goshen County 4-H, Torrington Bible Study, Torrington’s Rotary Club, Kiwanis Club and the Lions Club have all volunteered to make the event happen. Kuhnel wished to express his profound appreciation for the volunteers who have helped to make the event possible this year and the many years before.