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Special Santa Program 2020

November 28, 2020 - 1:15pm

Like so many parts of our lives, Special Santa has moved online due to COVID-19. And the Hillside Family of Agencies is calling on the communities we serve to help make this program successful once again.

Hillside has an office in Batavia, which serves children and families in Genesee County.

For more than 35 years, the Special Santa program has brought together countless thousands of generous individuals, businesses and volunteers in a shared act of community spirit — to ensure many children served by Hillside can enjoy toys and gifts during the holiday season. Last year alone, the program put more than 12,000 gifts in the hands of 4,500 children and families in need in New York and Maryland.

COVID-19 prompted the 2020 program to shift to an all-online model that asks the community to use Amazon Smile Charity Lists (pdf) that have been created by Hillside staff this season. Each of the 19 lists features specific gift requests made by youth in our programs. As the gifts are ordered throughout the season, they will be delivered to specific program locations for Hillside staff to get them to families.

“We couldn’t let COVID-19 stop Special Santa,” said Maria Cristalli, president and CEO. “This online model will help thousands of young people served by Hillside get the happy holidays they deserve. And community support is the real holiday magic that makes it all happen.”

Supporters can also make monetary donations to help defray program costs. 

Hillside is profoundly grateful to our community partners who have helped to ensure the success of Special Santa 2020, and especially our sponsors, the Glover-Crask Charitable Trust, Canandaigua National Bank & Trust and Lamar Advertising.

About Hillside Family of Agencies

Hillside Family of Agencies provides comprehensive health, education and human services for children and families whose challenges threaten their ability to realize their full potential.

It is guided by a deeply held belief that healthy children and strong families with opportunities to succeed are the foundation of a thriving community.

Hillside Family of Agencies is one of the oldest family and youth nonprofit human services organizations in Western and Central New York. The agency started as Rochester Female Association for the Relief of Orphans and Destitute Children in 1837. The first year 46 children were served.

It is committed to delivering the right care, in the right setting, to ensure success — whether in residential treatment, schools, homes or the workplace, Every year more than 13,000 youth, adults and families benefit from over 100 coordinated programs that provide comprehensive, cradle-to-career services in areas including child welfare, mental health, youth development, family development, juvenile justice, special education, developmental disabilities and safety net services.


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