The Community Mayors welcomed Santa Claus as he waved from the Delta cockpit as it was pulled into Hangar 19 to a cheering crowd of over 4000 special needs children and airport community volunteers.
Over 4200 special needs children were bussed in from all around special needs schools to a special hanger for this event. Santa arrived in style and proceeded to take his special Christmas decorated train around the hanger stopping to smile, hold, and share special moments with many of the excited children.
“This event makes the days of all of these children brighter and that is more than enough to bring tears to my eyes. At the end of the day you know you’ve done something good,” said Shelley Della Rocca, the volunteer president and CEO of Community Mayors whose father, Dominick, began modestly in Brooklyn with special events for special kids in need over 50 years ago
“The continued success of Operation Santa at JFK for over 40 years already speaks volumes,” said JFK Airport General Manager Michael Moran. “It is a testament to the dedication and collaboration among our airport community, federal partners, and elected officials in supporting children with special needs during the holidays.”
Shelley extends a warm thank you to Investors Bank which has stepped up to help fund the event for the next three years as well as Santa, Macys, Dave Price of NBC-TV, Michael Moran, John Selden, Robbyn Stewart, Marlene Mizzi of JFK Airport as well as special thanks to Michael Laxton, Vito Asparro, Janet Lambrisco, and Michael Seehan for donating thousands of children’s books for the event. She thanks all the volunteers, NYPD, PAPD, FBI, Columbia Associations, teachers, JFK ops and maintenance, and all others for supporting the holiday party.
The Community Mayors is an entirely volunteer organization. If you wish to participate, donate or volunteer for next year, please contact [email protected]