The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey held their annual Operation Santa Claus for more than 3,000 special needs children at John F. Kennedy International Airport on Wednesday, December 7.
Operation Santa Claus was founded by Louis Zeltner in 1875 as The Locality Mayors, was dedicated to communal civic and charitable activities, and included Teddy Roosevelt among its notable members.
In 1957, under the leadership of Dominick Della Rocca, K.M., the organization was reincorporated as The Community Mayors, a 501-C-3 not-for-profit, non-political organization, with special needs children as its primary focus, dedicated to improving the quality of life for children with disabilities.
Between 3,000 – 5,000 Children with special needs were entertained in a hangar at JFK provided by the Port Authority. They were served snacks & refreshments, received toys and watched Macy’s Santa Claus arrive waiving from an airplane via Delta Air Lines while they celebrated the season. It was a spectacular experience. In addition, thousands of volunteers from the uniformed service organizations, businesses, government, and the community at large participated in the activities. The New York City Firefighters, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey personnel, the New York City Police Department, the NYC Sanitation Department, Secret Service and FBI all provided significant volunteer personnel and services.