Residents of Atlantic Highlands heard the call and opened their pantries to help others in need as part of the Atlantic Highlands First Aid & Safety Squad’s Santa Runs 2016.

In keeping with tradition, the Squad asked residents to donate non-perishable food items when they visited with Santa during the week-long event. The donations, hundreds of items, a pair of jeans, and cash, were delivered to the AACC Food Pantry in Atlantic Highlands.

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For nearly two decades, Santa and his elves at AHFAS have been visiting with families throughout the borough. Over four nights, Santa and a fleet of emergency vehicles go block by block in an effort to reach everyone who wants to visit with the jolly fellow. Along the way, Santa stops to meet with children and their families, pose for pictures, listen to holiday wish lists, and distribute candy canes.

Throughout the week, which was delayed one night for rain, Santa met huge crowds of people. And, as in the past, residents were able to track Santa’s whereabouts on Twitter and Facebook.

Because of the residents’ generosity this year, many other families will have a better holiday season. The food donations will assure others have a holiday meal and more, and are a clear indication of how a small donation can have a major impact.

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Santa got a special assist this year from Borough councilmen Lou Fligor and Roy Dellosso, former mayor Fred Rast, and AHFAS life member Walter Curry. Also assisting each night were members of the AHFAS Cadets, a group of young, future EMS providers, who helped hand out candy canes and coordinate getting children into Santa’s sleigh.

The AHFAS is an all-volunteer emergency medical service providing around-the-clock EMS care to the borough and occasionally surrounding towns. The Squad is funded only by donations from the borough and its residents. For information on how you can become a part of this dynamic, award-winning organization call (732) 291-8118, check out the Squad website atwww.ahfirstaid.org or follow the AHFAS on Facebook and Twitter. And for information on how you can help the AACC Food Pantry call (732) 291-0485.

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