Readers Write: Northport VA needs Secret Santas

The Island Now


For several years, the American Legion Auxiliary has reached out to you for help in spreading holiday cheer to our veterans living at the Northport VA Medical Center through your participation in our Holiday Gift Bag Program. Your response has consistently overwhelmed us and last year, as a result of your generosity, we prepared and delivered over 200 very large holiday bags overflowing with necessities and gift items to our veterans.

This year has been very difficult for all of us as we continue to struggle through the impact of the pandemic.  The situation has also been extremely difficult for those veterans who live or receive treatment at the NVAMC. Due to concerns for their health and safety our veterans will not be permitted to receive traditional gifts items this holiday season.

While we cannot do the Gift Bag Program, we can still honor our veterans and help bring them some holiday cheer.  This year the NVAMC has launched a Secret Soldier Santa Program. It is a revisualization of a program they have run for a number of years. In the past a party was held for veteran and military families in which Santa presented the children with age-appropriate gifts. Since actual gifts are not permitted, gift cards (which can be sanitized) will be distributed to our veterans for use in purchasing gifts for their children. We are working to raise money to purchase these gift cards from major stores and your donations will help make this happen.

On Saturday, Nov. 21, from 9:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., the Scouts and our Junior Auxiliary members will be in the back outdoor section of Raindew accepting monetary donations in a contactless manner.  All will be safely distanced and wearing personal protective clothing.  We will have an American Legion Auxiliary member who is a nurse stationed at the Raindew site to ensure adherence with safety measures.  We are very grateful to Raindew for their continued support of our veterans and the American Legion Auxiliary’s ongoing programs.  This is a very generous and patriotic gesture on their part.

Post 304 of the Manhasset American Legion, 27 Bayview Ave., will also be open on Saturday, Nov. 21, from 9:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., to accept donations for this worthy cause.  There will be a totally contactless “Drive-By Donation” site in the parking lot and a “Walk-By Donation” site at the front door.

Donations may be made in cash or by check.  Checks should be made payable to American Legion Auxiliary and may be dropped off on Nov. 21 or mailed to American Legion Auxiliary, 27 Bayview Ave., Manhasset, NY 11030.  American Legion Auxiliary Manhasset Unit 304 is a 501(c) (19) tax exempt organization.  All donations are tax deductible as permitted by law.

Please join us in spreading cheer to those who have sacrificed so much in the service of our great nation and in the preservation of our freedoms.  Thank you for all you have done and continue to do for our veterans.  May you each be blessed in abundance at this beautiful holiday season.

For additional information, please feel free to contact Pat O’Brien at 516-850-5702 or


Patricia O’Brien


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