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Annual Santa Run returns

By Staff | Dec 20, 2017

Santa will make a special stop on Sanibel this Saturday.

To participate in the Sanibel-Captiva Kiwanis Club’s 44th annual Santa Run, interested individuals may drop off wrapped presents at the Sanibel Fire Station located at 2351 Palm Ridge Road. The presents must be dropped off no later than 5 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 23.

“The firemen are fantastic with helping us out,” said Dick Muench, member of the Sanibel-Captiva Kiwanis Club.

A name, address, phone number and brief message about the person who will be receiving the present is required. Multiple bags must have labels for each. For those living in condominiums, detailed instructions or a map is preferred.

Parents should have their cameras ready as Santa arrives between 6 and 8 p.m. Santa will personally deliver gifts to each child. Those who are just visiting the island can also have a special visit from Santa.

The annual Santa Run is open for people of all ages. The run is comprised of six santas, a helper and a driver.

“We make 8 to 10 stops an hour,” Muench said. “Last year we made about 78 stops with multiple packages at each stop.”

Friends Who care, an island-based organization, also calls upon the volunteers of the Santa Run to deliver gifts to those who need them the most.

“The seniors usually get a canister of cookies and gift certificates,” Muench said. “One of the greatest feelings we’ve ever had is going to the senior center and when Santa came to his door, he cried because that would have been the only thing he got that year. He was in one of the below market rate units.”

Muench, the only founding member remaining of the Sanibel-Captiva Kiwanis Club, started the tradition on Sanibel during Christmas of 1973. Muench originally started began the Santa Run in Syracuse, New York.

Muench’s favorite part of the Santa Run is seeing the kid’s smiling faces.

“I really enjoy seeing the kids. They’re our future,” he said.

For more information, call Muench at 239-472-2812.