For the first time since Springfield's tree lighting, Santa came back to town on Thursday, Dec. 20.
As in years past, The jovial North Pole native and local charity Springfield H.O.P.E.worked together to distribute hundreds of toys to Springfield children at Hecht Chiropractic.
For several hours, Santa greeted hundreds of children at the Mountain Ave. office, surrounded by piles of toys and holiday decorations.
In their annual Toy drive, Springfield H.O.P.E. collects new and unwrapped toys for Springfield families in need. H.O.P.E. trustee Gary Hecht said this year’s toy drive saw brought in new participants, including the Springfield Elks, PBA Local #76 and Temple Beth Ahm Yisrael.
Speaking shortly before Santa started greeting his public, Dr. Hecht told Patch that H.O.P.E. had already given toys to over 100 children this year and estimated that the donations were "in the 1,000s."
While the focus remains on needy Springfield families, this year H.O.P.E. reached out to aid victims of Tropical Storm Sandy. At the suggestion of several Springfield firefighters, the overflow of toys are being directed to Ventnor, NJ, a town near Atlantic City hit hard by the storm.