Who are the Santa Claus Girls and what do they do? With this blog you will learn more about this group of volunteers and the wonderful things they do each year. We will also feature names of those from the community who have contributed monetary donations.
For this post, I’d like to share with you an article on the history of the Santa Claus Girls written by Brandi Jewett, a Herald staff writer. The article was published Nov 24, 2011 in the Grand Forks Herald.
Gifts from Santa’s Girls, Charity hopes to raise $15,000 By Brandi Jewett, Herald Staff Writer
Herald File Photo: Pictured at a working session from days gone by are some past members of the Santa Claus Girls. From left are Roberta Bertram, Ruth Christenson, C.C. Orr, Mrs. Charles Prazak, Mrs. Arthur Bakken, Mrs. William Weisser, Mable Guy, Mrs. Fred O’Neil, Mrs. Victor Chase, Mrs. H.H. Matt, Mrs. S.L. Lyons, president, Mrs. Leonard Driscoll, Mrs. I. A. Osmundson, Mrs. R.R. Mercy and Mrs. Walter Kuta.
After nearly 100 years, Grand Forks’ oldest charity is still providing toys to families in need.
Santa Claus Girls, founded in 1916 by Herald employees, creates gift bags for community children using donations contributed by the newspaper’s readers.
“Originally, many gifts were made by the women of the Herald and other community volunteers,” Anita Geffre, the Herald’s finance director and president of Santa Claus Girls. “Mittens, stockings, doll dresses and other items were sewn and the women would meet once a week to work on items.”
Santa Claus Girls was created during World War I. During its first year, the organization received $270.23 in donations, which was used to give more than 300 children homemade presents.
Last year Santa Claus Girls gave gift bags to more than 700 children from about 300 families.
Once the items are purchased they will be packed and delivered to families on Dec. 9, Geffre said.
Families can also pick up their gift bags at the Herald.
Though employees are the primary gift packers, members of the community also assist. “I think it’s something that’s part of their Christmas tradition,” Geffre said. Geffre said.
The organization hopes to meet its goal of $15,000 this year. Names of children are submitted by Head Start, schools, churches and community members, and each nominated child receives a gift bag stuffed with goodies, Geffre said.
“We pack and deliver a package containing, socks, gloves, candy, a book, a toothbrush and a toy for each child,” she said.
Volunteers interested in helping the Santa Claus Girls can meet Dec. 8 at the Herald alley door at 2 p.m. for packing gift bags or 8 a.m. Dec. 9 for delivering gift bags.
Donations can be sent to Santa Claus Girls, Grand Forks Herald, Box 6008, Grand Forks, ND 58206-6008 We have included a form you can download and print out to send in with your donation.