TOWNSEND -- Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #6538 and its Ladies Auxiliary will once again sponsor the Christmas Eve Santa Claus Program as part of their Community Service and Youth Activities Programs.

All Townsend residents who will have at least one child of an age that believes in Santa Claus in their Townsend home on Christmas Eve are invited to utilize this service. Participation is completely free.

A VFW Santa Claus will visit every participating family on Christmas Eve between 5 and 8 p.m. He will stay for five minutes or less and hand each child a small hand-carried gift which has been provided by the family. Picture-taking by the family is definitely encouraged.

In order to be included in the program, you must bring the gift you wish to have Santa present to your child to the VFW Pavilion, 491 Main St., on Nov. 25 between the hours of 1 and 4 p.m. Specifically designated representatives of the Townsend VFW post and its Ladies Auxiliary will be on hand to accept the gifts.

Each gift must be securely wrapped, have the child's full name and address clearly marked on the wrapping paper, and be small and light enough to be easily carried in one hand. The total of its length, width, and depth must not exceed 26 inches. Gifts which those in charge of the program consider to be too large or too heavy for Christmas Eve delivery will not be accepted.


It is strongly recommended that gifts not having flat surfaces be boxed before wrapping, since the paper covering the objects with varying contours tends to tear when many gifts are packed together.

A special Santa Claus registration form which is being mailed to every Townsend and West Townsend postal patron must be completed and taped to each gift. If more than one child at an address is to receive a gift, you are asked to completely fill out an additional form for each child. Extra forms will be available at the drop-off location. VFW personnel suggest that you also drop off a gift for each older child who will be present on Christmas Eve, since those believing in Santa Claus may wonder why the older children do not receive a gift.

Due to the large number of participants and the complexity of arranging the routes, gifts will only be accepted at the VFW Pavilion on Nov. 25, during the designated hours. If you wish to be included in the program and cannot make it to the VFW Pavilion during that time yourself, you should arrange to have a friend or neighbor bring the gift to the drop-off location. Please be sure that person has all the pertinent information to complete the registration form.

The Townsend VFW post and Auxiliary delivered gifts to more than 410 children at 114 addresses on Christmas Eve last year. This very active veterans group hopes to bring joy to at least that number of youngsters this year.