Since 1934, the Pasadena Junior Chamber of Commerce (“Jaycees”) has been delivering toys to the underprivileged children of Pasadena and surrounding communities on Christmas Eve. Last year over 120 people gave their time on Christmas Eve to dress up as Santa, Mrs. Claus and Santa’s helpers and deliver approximately 7,500 toys to children who had written letters to Santa Claus.
Each child was greeted by name and given a toy and a candy cane. Pictures are often taken with Santa and Mrs. Claus before they move on to the next home on their route. Other neighborhood children who live along Santa’s route often stop Santa in the street and toys are given to these children as well those on the pre-determined route. This project is a huge endeavor requiring hundreds of volunteers and volunteer hours.
Letters that children write to Santa are re-directed to the Pasadena Jaycees by the Pasadena Post Office where they are read, translated from Spanish when necessary, and entered into a database. The night before Christmas Eve, all of the homes where these children live are geographically mapped using a computer software program so that Santa can find his way to all of these homes on Christmas Eve. On Christmas Eve, over 200 people sort toys for children on each route. Finally, 50-60 teams of Santa, Mrs. Claus, and an elf (driver) load up their vehicles and drive through Pasadena and the surrounding communities to deliver these toys. The happiness on the faces of the children and their parents when Santa arrives at the door on Christmas Eve is worth all the long months of planning and fundraising.
All of the toys delivered by Jaycee Santas are collected through toy drives or purchased with donated funds from area foundations, corporations, small businesses, and individuals. We have delivered toys to generations of families making this our most widely recognized community service project. Not only does this project benefit thousands of area children but it also helps out their parents who may find themselves unable to provide gifts or toys for their children at Christmas time. We also assist other non-profit organizations in the area by donating toys and a Santa visit to them in the weeks before Christmas.