Mount Sinai High School’s Students Against Destructive Decisions club and Holiday Magic combined for their 21st year as a team devoted to making the holidays magical for children across Suffolk County.
Holiday Magic, headed by local attorney Charlie “Santa” Russo, is a nonprofit organization that dedicates itself to making the holidays special for less fortunate children and their families. This year, Holiday Magic received gift requests from nearly 14,000 children on Long Island. On Dec. 6, with 54 Santa lists in hand and $4,000 in cash from Holiday Magic, the SADD students took a sleigh donated by the First Student bus company to Walmart and the Smith Haven Mall in search of the requested gifts. With the help of a donated truck from RTI Trucking, the gifts were delivered to their very own “North Pole” for wrapping.
As always, SADD’s goal is to show these children that the community does care, which in the future will hopefully prevent them from making “destructive decisions.” Making this year’s shopping event even more special was that Mount Sinai High once again opened its doors to host the holiday dinner for the children we had shopped for and their families. The dinner, which took place Dec. 12, fed over 80 people in a holiday themed cafeteria at the high school. Many of the SADD members played with the children or dressed in holiday themed costumes. SADD members escorted Santa into party to the delight of some eagerly awaiting kids, who were each given gifts from their Santa lists.
The group was once again joined by Mount Sinai graduate, SADD alumni and now Mount Sinai teacher, Gabriella Conceicao. Gabby is a leave replacement at the Middle School by day and a guest elf at night.
Mount Sinai teacher John Wilson, who is co-club advisor alongside John McHugh, said he hopes to continue this tradition with Gabby every year. A magical part of the night was when SADD presented Holiday Magic with a check for $7,000 from the proceeds of the 2019 Turkey Trot.
“It’s simply magic when we can return what we borrowed plus donate thousands more back,” Wilson said.
Those looking to donate to Holiday Magic can visit www.holidaymagicli.org.
Next year will be the schools 22nd anniversary of SADD’s and Holiday Magic’s annual teamup.