NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - The New Providence Volunteer Fire Department held their first ever “Santa Claus Gift Delivery” on Saturday, December 19th.

To participate in the event, residents were asked to drop off wrapped gifts for their children at the firehouse, along with a donation for the fire department of $30 for each home.

There were 127 borough families on Santa’s list for this festive fundraiser. The dedicated members of the fire department gathered in the morning at the firehouse to organize the gifts and the delivery logistics. Two engines, each with a Santa Claus, were dispatched along with several pickup trucks to carry the gifts. Advance scouts were sent out to let people know that Santa would soon be arriving at their homes.

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“Surrounding towns are doing it,"  Ralph Parlapiano, New Providence Fire Chief, said. "It’s good community relations and a great fundraiser. The extra money can go to specialized equipment for the New Providence Fire Department.”

There was a lot of enthusiasm among the firemen, who worked to make the gift delivery a great event.

“It’s for the children,” Jim Swanton, a 35-year member of the fire department.

Hugh Cahill and Bill Schmeelck each played the part of Santa Claus. For Cahill, it was his first time while Schmeelck has portrayed St. Nick for the last 17 years.

“It’s great to see the joy in the children’s eyes,”  Schmeelck said.

Debra Golden is both a firefighter and an EMT. She checked the delivery list to be certain that the event ran smoothly.  Golden said that it is important that the community knows that the fire department is there for more than just emergencies.

The New Providence Fire Department “Santa Claus Delivery” was a win-win event. The children of New Providence had the joy of having Santa visit their home with a special gift and the fire department raised funds to continue its important work in the community.

For more information on the New Providence Fire Department, visit their web site at