SALISBURY — Just because it’s a decades-old tradition doesn’t mean Salisbury’s Santa’s Helpers isn’t as important today as it was 38 years ago, when Betty Cloonan and her friends began to make sure Christmas was special for every child in town.
“I have to tell you this is an extraordinarily important campaign in town,” said Salisbury businessman Wayne Capolupo, who’s supported Santa’s Helpers for years. “There are a lot of children who would get little or nothing Christmas morning if it weren’t for Santa’s Helpers.”
A privately run and financed organization, Santa’s Helpers grew out of a mothers club at the local church that provided after-school activities for their own children. It turned into a holiday program when Cloonan realized the degree of need in town. Salisbury children not finding gifts under the tree Christmas morning simply isn’t acceptable to Cloonan and her crew. Since it began, the charity’s helped thousands of kids, last year alone more than 400.
Santa’s Helpers Benefit Auction, its most important fundraising event, is scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 18, at Blue Ocean Music Hall. Admission is free, the bidding starts at 1 p.m., but those in the know get there earlier to preview the gifts, which are plentiful and can include gift baskets, certificates from local businesses, furniture, sports tickets and scores more.
According to Linda Boragine, one of Santa’s Helpers, the event raises money for the thousands of new Christmas goodies that will be delivered to local families in time for Christmas morning.
“And at the end of the auction, Wayne offers everyone who comes a great, free pasta buffet,” she said. “It’s really a great time.”
Boragine’s Alpha and Omega Beauty Salon in Salisbury Square is a collection place for donations for the auction, money and things that will make up the huge baskets, special auction items, including dozens of gift certificates from local businesses.