Santa Coming Early to Sanibel

provided to Santiva Chronicle

Kiwanis Santas get ready to deliver gifts to Sanibel homes on December 23.

Once again this year, Santa will be making a special visit to Sanibel homes on Monday, Dec. 23 before he heads out on his worldwide route. Sanibel’s “Santa Run” is organized and assisted by our local Kiwanis Club, and kids young and old will remember the experience for years to come. If you’d like to have Santa visit your home while he’s in town, Kiwanis would be happy to oblige.

Here is how you can make it happen at your home: Any adult — parent, grandparent or whatever –who’d like Santa to deliver gifts to their household can arrange a Santa visit. To do this, you should secure an appropriate gift for each recipient (young or old!), wrap and address each gift, then place the gifts into one sack for each household along with your address information & any special instructions for each gift recipient. Then deliver the sack to the main Fire Station, 2361 Palm Ridge Road, no later than 5 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 23rd. The instructions included with your gift sack are very important to insure gifts get to the intended recipients. Instructions should include:

Name of the adult of the household who has set up the visit, and the address for delivery. ( For condo units, detailed address instructions are requested, possibly including a map to show the location of the unit in the condo complex.)

The name of each gift recipient clearly indicated on each gift. In addition, please include some personal information about the recipient to give Santa some insight into how well-behaved the little boy or girl has been over the past year. (This lets Santa personalize his message!)

Santa and his helper elves will leave the Fire Station around 5:30 pm and make the deliveries between 6 pm and 8 pm on Saturday, Dec. 23. When he visits, Santa will wish the entire household a “Merry Christmas” and will personally deliver gifts to each child (while parents and grandparents click away to capture photos that will last a lifetime). If you are celebrating Christmas on the island, and if you have kids or grandkids staying at your house who would enjoy a visit from St. Nick, Kiwanis can help you make their holiday extra-memorable.

The Santa Run tradition was started 46 years ago by Kiwanian Dick Muench, who had been involved with a similar event conducted in Syracuse, New York. Dick got the local Sanibel-Captiva Kiwanis Club, which he helped to found that year, to help him start the Santa Run.
In its first year, the Santa Run delivered 110 presents to 66 households, most of them children in the Sanibel school. Dick Muench was the one and only Santa Claus that year, and he did not finish the route until 11:30 pm.

Forty six years later, the Santa Run is still going strong, having grown considerably. Kiwanis now uses six Santas, each with a helper elf and a driver/navigator. And in the course of the night each of the six Santa teams make about total 125 stops.

If anyone has questions about the Santa Run they can reach Dick Muench at 472-2812 or contact any Kiwanian.

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