Next week, The Santa Claus Shop will open its doors at St. John’s Lutheran Church, 587 Springfield Ave. in Summit.  On Monday December 3rd there will be a celebration for seniors at the Vito A. Gallo building in Summit.  Families will then be offered extended shopping hours on Tuesday, December 4th.

The Santa Claus Shop serves more than 500 low-income families and senior citizens from Summit, New Providence and Berkeley Heights, who are referred by local social service agents. Santa Claus Shop guests personally select a household item, new clothing for each member of their immediate families and a new toy and book for each child. Gift wrapping is done on the premises by local volunteers.

The 2012 Santa Claus Shop is chaired by Summit residents, Victoria Carrigan, Amy D’Andrea, Key Michel and Katrina Walsh and co-chaired by Stacie Collins, Carrie Fallon, Beth Little and Jenna Smith.

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This year, donations have come from Catchware, Creative Wallcoverings & Interiors, Gearhart Law, Genualdi Orthodontic Association, Hair Salon, Hilltop Community Bank, Robinwood Kitchens, Schroth & Lorenson Jewelers, State Farm Insurance, Summit Fireplace Centre, The Summit Luminary Fund, Toy Professor and Westy’s Storage Center. 

This annual event operates solely on the monetary donations from area residents, local organizations and businesses.  Donations are accepted throughout the year.  With the monetary donations from area residents, local organizations and businesses, the Santa Claus Shop can purchase the gifts that allow less fortunate neighbors to experience the joy of holiday giving without financial burden.

The community’s generous donations helped fund merchandise purchased of from Wal-Mart for the 2012 Santa Claus Shop.  Staff Managers at Wal-Mart in Watchung helped facilitate the selection and purchase of gift items for this year’s shop.  Wal-Mart also donated warehouse space to store gift items in its facilities, in anticipation of the shop opening.

The Don Jones Foundation in New Providence held a toy drive for Santa Claus Shop and Westy’s Self Storage in Chatham donated trucks to transport items from Wal-Mart to The Santa Claus Shop.  Westy’s also provided overnight storage for the merchandise.  The books are donated by the Spielman family, who personally select each for the shop, and Barnes and Noble.

Santa Claus Shop clients will be treated to desserts and coffee compliments of the Grand Summit Hotel, Natale’s Bakery, Manhattan Bagel and Dunkin Donuts in Summit and New Providence; sandwiches provided by Zappia’s; and pizzas donated by Village Trattoria, Doria’s and Joe’s Pizzeria in Summit. 

Shop Rite in Springfield provided large bags to carry home the presents.  Taylor Rental in Berkeley Heights provided table rentals at a discounted rate and Staples in Summit provided numerous copies for the event.  The Santa Claus Shop chairwomen would like to express a special thank you to St. John’s Lutheran Church who allows the Santa Claus Shop to host this special event in their auditorium each year.  The chairwomen also thank all of the school children and volunteers who donated new hats and mittens for this year’s shop. 

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the tradition of the Santa Claus Shop is more important than ever as we ask for your help to spread some holiday cheer to those in need.   To keep the holiday spirit alive for those in the community, the Santa Claus Shop chairwomen ask for checks to be made payable to SHIP, with Santa Claus Shop noted on the check’s memo line, and mailed to the Santa Claus Shop, P.O. Box 119, Summit, NJ 07901.