Santa and Mrs. Claus took time out of their busy schedule on Saturday to listen to the Christmas wishes of over 300 Weehawken school children ranging from pre-kindergarten to second grade during the course of two sessions of “Breakfast with Santa.”
Nearly every child had a smile on their face as they slid off Santa’s lap and ran excitedly back to their parents, clutching a present Santa had given them as a reward for being such a good boy or girl.
Robert Carson, a young boy wearing a Santa hat, recieved a light-up sword, and asked Santa for a new Legos set. His little sister, Daisy, was less sure.
“Probably a pony,” she replied, when asked what she had whispered in Santa’s ear.
Brianna Stratton also was undecided about what to ask for this Christmas, but her brother Sebastian was firmly set in his decision.
“I asked for the new Super Mario Bros. Wii game,” he said. “That’s a game for the Wii,” he added for clarification.
“Probably a pony.” – Daisy Carson, when asked what she would ask Santa for Christmas.
“I want the 2012 Hess Truck. It’s got a helicopter,” he said.
Nearly 400 people, including children and family members, attended each session, the morning session from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and the afternoon session from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Entertainment was provided by local celebrity and children’s entertainer Kimmy Schwimmy and her Schwimettes.
The event, which is organized by the Webster School’s Parent Teacher Participation Association (PTPA), is in its 15th year, and is by far the Webster school’s biggest fundraiser of the year. Planning for this year’s breakfast began as early as July, said Helen Johnson, who is serving her first year as the PTPA’s president.
“This is the definition of insanity, in case you’re wondering,” said Johnson, as red-and-green clad children ran past her and other PTPA moms tried to ask her questions. “But it is our biggest event of the year, and this year it’s that much more important given what’s happened in the past few months.”
Johnson was referring to the difficulties the township faced following Hurricane Sandy. Many of the Webster School’s students lived in The Shades, a neighborhood that got flooded. Some of the proceeds from the event will be donated to the Weehawken and You Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund. Additionally, Schwimmy asked that her usual fee be donated to the fund.
According to Johnson, the storm hit at a very critical point in the event’s planning process, and the PTPA had considered cancelling the event for the first time ever. This was until Mayor Richard Turner, whose wife Eileen had been one of the first organizers of the event when their son Richie was a student at Webster, stepped in.
“The event is something our kids have come to expect,” he said at the event. “We had to have it.”
The mayor’s office provided additional funds to help get the event back on track, and Turner even lent the assistance of his aide, Gio Ahmad, to the PTPA in the days leading up to the big day.
“Gio was an enormous help,” said Johnson. “Even this morning I had to call him and tell him we needed more eggs [for breakfast]! And there he was with more eggs!”
Asked about the event, Ahmad smiled and said, “Yeah, they needed more eggs. I couldn’t believe how many, though. I said, ‘You want how many eggs?!’ ”
Along with the proceeds from the ticket sales, the fundraiser generated revenue through a silent auction, where items such as Victor Cruz’s autographed miniature New York Giants helmets were up for grabs.
Dean DeChiaro may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org