Wakefield, MA: The Boys & Girls Clubs of Stoneham & Wakefield hosted its annual Santa Sleigh Event on Friday, December 17th on Main Street in Wakefield. The Santa Sleigh event is a beloved Wakefield tradition where residents, families and children gather on Main Street to catch a glimpse of Santa in his old-fashioned sleigh guided by his 12 costumed reindeer. Santa concludes his ride at a central meeting location in Wakefield to distribute toys, clothes and gift cards to brighten the holidays for more than 90 children from 70 local families.
For John Brinkman, Chief Operating Officer at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Stoneham & Wakefield, this year’s event was an inspiring display of generosity from the community. “For many families, the holidays can bring financial pressure and stress. We received more requests for assistance than we ever have before, and we refused to say ‘no.’ The outpouring of support from our communities was nothing short of inspirational. Being able to offer even a small amount of relief to folks that needed it most is the epitome of why this work is so very worth doing,” said Brinkman of the community involvement in the Santa Sleigh event.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Stoneham & Wakefield would like to thank Vestmark, Inc. and all of its generous donors for sponsoring and collecting gifts for families in need that were distributed at the Santa Sleigh event. Vestmark donated enough gifts for nearly 80 children and families. The Clubs would also like to extend thanks to the Wakefield Police for graciously escorting Santa’s Sleigh and his team of elves down Main Street and all the local volunteers who helped out as Santa’s trusty reindeer.
Lisa Lemoi, Manager of Administration at Vestmark, shared how important this toy drive is to Vestmark and its employees. “For the second consecutive year, Vestmark employees donated toys, clothes, and electronics to over 60 families through the Boys & Girls Club of Stoneham & Wakefield toy drive. We look forward to this cause each year, as it is the single largest holiday fundraiser that we support. During the drive, the saying around our office is “no gift left behind.” We ensure that every child we sponsor gets more than what is requested. Vestmark is a value-based company and we’re proud to participate in such a meaningful event that supports children and families in need,” said Lemoi.
Founded in 1990 by Wakefield resident John Shelton and his family, the Wakefield Santa Sleigh passed through Wakefield every year through 2014 before a three-year hiatus. In 2017, another Wakefield resident, Ngan Wedemeier, revived the tradition. Wedemeier purchased the sleigh and reindeer costumes, and quickly organized a toy drive and volunteers in coordination with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Wakefield & Stoneham. The Boys and Girls Clubs has been the driving force behind the last four Wakefield Santa Sleigh events, running the toy drive and organizing volunteers.
“Thank you so much to all those involved in making this event not only a success, but something special for our families and our community. Our Club is so lucky to be surrounded by some of the best local business and community partners imaginable. When the village comes together for the families in need, we are able to create memories that will last a lifetime,” said Joey D’Alessandro, Director of the Wakefield Club and event organizer.
While the Wakefield Santa Sleigh is no longer collecting contributions for 2021, it’s not too late to donate to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Stoneham and Wakefield to support local children and families by visiting BGCWakefield.org or BGCStoneham.org.