Every year, Sincerely Santa Tampa distributes gifts to hundreds of local children. Last year, first responders and law enforcement members were able to deliver the toys to the children.

A group of Hillsborough County children will have a more joyous Christmas thanks to a Tampa nonprofit.

Sincerely Santa Tampa has coordinated gifts for underprivileged and at-risk children in Tampa Bay every year since its establishment in 1987, providing clothing and toys to a total of more than 100,000 children.

Each year, those in kindergarten through third grade get an opportunity to write a letter to Santa explaining what they would like to have for Christmas, then the teachers and social workers select the neediest children and forward the letters to Sincerely Santa Tampa. Once those letters get reviewed by the Sincerely Santa Elves, they are displayed at the Westfield Brandon mall and distributed to the organization’s corporate partners.

Civic organizations, mall shoppers and more have the opportunity to become a sponsor by choosing a letter or letters which include items that could be bought for the child. The letters can be located at the Sincerely Santa Tampa booth inside the Dillard’s at Westfield Brandon from now through Sunday, December 20.

“We are dedicated to giving back to the local community we serve as this meaningful cause brightens the lives of young children,” said Westfield Brandon’s marketing director, Dawn Arvidson.

The organization also works alongside the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, Hillsborough County Fire Rescue, Temple Terrace Fire Department and more to get these gifts processed and delivered.

This year, due to COVID-19, the organization teamed up with the Hillsborough County Parks & Recreation centers to minimize contact at a location where families can come to pick up the gifts for their children. Families will be notified and must provide identification in order to receive their packages.

Hillsborough County Fire Rescue Captain David Raasch stated how he felt about all of these efforts from many who contributed to Sincerely Santa Tampa over the years.

“I just want to thank the community for 33 years of support,” Capt. Raasch said.

For more information or to donate, visit www.sincerelysantatampa.org. Check out the group’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/SincerelySantaTampa, email info@sincerelysantatampa.org or call 841-4611.

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Tatiana Ortiz
Tatiana Ortiz is a freelance writer with the Osprey Observer Newspaper. She began as an intern here in 2010 and has been writing since. Tatiana graduated from the University of South Florida in 2015. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communications with a concentration in Public Relations. In her free time, Tatiana enjoys photography, biking and being with her family.