Veterans get help from Santa to deliver Christmas cheer to students

Published 12:04 am Friday, December 16, 2022

SALISBURY — On Thursday afternoon, American Legion Post 342, American Legion Auxiliary and the Sons of the American Legion helped put on a Christmas present giveaway to local elementary school special needs students with Santa himself there to meet the kids and have pictures taken.

This is the first time since COVID that the event was able to take place in person.

Students from Hurley, Millbridge, Bostian and Granite Quarry elementary schools came to have a fun time getting presents and enjoying free food. Presents were also sent to students at Shive and North Rowan elementary schools, which could not make it to the actual event.

“We get exactly what they want. If they say they want a basketball, we give them a basketball. We make sure that every kid gets at least one gift of what they ask for for Christmas,” volunteer Wayne Kennerly said.

The American Legion has been putting on this event for several decades thanks to veteran volunteers and their desire to help some Rowan County youngsters.

“We felt like we were giving back to the community and that’s what we wanted to do. We’re veterans… To give back to the kids to show that, ‘Hey look, we appreciate you and we appreciate the teachers.’ They get to see Santa and be part of this wonderful celebration of Christmas,” American Legion member Ann Barber said.

This time it was extra festive since it could take place in person. With everyone being separated during the pandemic, it’s the small things that bring a sense of normalcy as people do something for those in need.

“It’s been an exciting event and I’m glad that we were able to do it because we’ve tried the last couple years to bring it back and we have not been able to get it back. This was a great thing to get it back,” Second Vice Commander of the Post 342 and President of the American Legion Auxiliary Queen Williams said.

Santa Claus made an appearance to meet with the kids.

There were plenty of presents to go around for the kids.

American Legion members stopped by Shive Elementary School to drop off presents.