Local Santa’s Helpers providing joy and toys to Erie community over three decades

Local News

Santa’s Helpers aren’t just in the North Pole. In fact, you can find some of them right here in downtown Erie.

There are 35 more days until Christmas. Before Santa Claus comes to town, some local elves are doing what they can to help him out.

Spreading the holiday spirit is what motivates about 20 retirees to head to a workshop each day.

They create homemade wooden toys to bring a smile to the faces of good boys and girls.

“It’s just a good feeling knowing that the stuff that goes out here, somebody is going to appreciate. You just can’t buy stuff like this. It’s all done with love.” said Steven Dusza.

Once the toys leave the workshop, they’re sent out to local organizations who will look to distribute them to the less fortunate.

“It’s helping somebody. Kids enjoy this. I know I have cousins, nieces, and nephews, and I always made toys for them for Christmas and they enjoyed it.” said Donald Nowak.

In a typical year, around 3,000 toys are made. This year, due to the shutdown, it will be fewer. Some helpers, though, are determined to get as many toys out as possible.

“That’s really a good feeling to be able to do something during these hard times. I know when we were closed down for three months, guys took things home to do.” said Larry Schroeck.

Throughout the workshop, there are different kinds of toys for kids, each of them bringing a different meaning.

“I like giving things like the toys I make and others to my grandchildren and to my great grandchildren, so my toys are kid tested.” said Gary Stanton.

Santa’s Helpers have worked to bring joy to the Erie community for more than 30 decades.

Most of the toys are made for children under the age of 10.

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