Courtesy photo

Santa Claus will be making his was around Wading River, visiting children, handing out candy and collecting food donations for the Wading River Fire Department’s Stuff-A-Bus food drive on Sunday, Dec. 8 starting at 10 a.m. (Rain date: Sunday, Dec. 15.)

“Santa is looking forward to once again seeing all the children from Wading River,” said Wading River Fire Department board president Mike Hammer. 

Fire Department members will escort Santa and firetrucks will announce Santa’s arrival with sirens and airhorns. Members of the fire department will be collecting nonperishable food items for the annual Stuff-A-Bus food drive. 

The Stuff-A-Bus food drive starts right after Thanksgiving. The holiday is later in the month this year than typical, so the drive will be shorter than usual — though the need is just as great.

“After the Thanksgiving deliveries, the food pantries are all very low,” Hammer said. 

First Student Bus Co. donated the use of the big yellow school bus the fire department hopes to fill with donated food. Last year, the bus was completely filled— to the point where people couldn’t walk down the aisle. 

Donations of nonperishable food will be accepted until Jan. 5, when the bus will travel to several food pantries around the East End to distribute the donations. 

The bus is parked outside the fire department headquarters on North Country Road and people are welcome to go directly to the bus to donate. Other donation collection locations are outside the Wading River King Kullen and inside Defined Health and Fitness Gym. 

Capt. Thomas Whelan is in charge of Stuff-a-Bus this year and will be helped by volunteer firefighters, EMS rescue personnel, the WRFD Auxiliary and the local Boy Scout Troop 94. 

The food pantries that will receive donations are Living Water Full Gospel Church in Riverhead, Saint Anselm’s Episcopal Church in Shoreham, Wading River Congregational Church, Saint John the Baptist Church in Wading River, Saints Peter & Paul Church in Manorville, Trinity Lutheran Church in Rocky Point, and North Shore United Methodist Church in Wading River. 

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Julia-Anna Searson
Julia-Anna is a Riverhead native and a recent graduate of Stony Brook University, with a degree in Biology and minor in Anthropology. She currently lives in Cutchogue.