Dec. 15, 2023 By Iryna Shkurhan
Thanks to the FDNY, Santa was able to deliver gifts in Bayside ahead of schedule this year.
Dozens of patients at St. Mary’s Hospital for Children, located 29-01 216th St., were bundled up in blankets, hats and gloves to hear from Christmas carolers belting away outside of the hospital. But not long after, Santa appeared on the roof of the hospital.
Members of the local fire department set up their truck ladder to allow him to come down safely and greet the kids who began to chant his name. Dozens of staff members and some parents also participated in the Christmas festivities.
The holiday spectacle has been a tradition at the hospital – which serves children with complex medical conditions with in-patient care and day programs – for over 20 years.
“The event has only gotten bigger,” said Sean Lally, executive vice president St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children. “It’s just grown to include more friends from the FDNY, more members of the staff, more employees and more kids were able to participate this year.”
The FDNY also delivered several large bags of toys and laid them out on a table for the kids to get their pick. Santa Clause, along with one of his elves and Mrs. Clause, helped hand out the gifts.
“All the seasonal events are really good for our kids. They get to meet new people, have new activities and just to be outside to see the support that community gives us,” said Claire Mahon, a recreational therapist in the hospital’s after school program. “Kids were smiling, and their eyes lit up and they were reaching for Santa.”
Next week on Monday, Dec. 18, several NYPD precincts will visit the hospital with more toys and festivities to the young patients.