Late this afternoon you may have noticed 15 people dressed as Santa Claus running around Calverley Street, Park Street, Collegiate Drive, and Coldwater Road West. Those Santas were teachers from Orchard Park Public School.
The local educators were participating in the HoHo Holiday Run in Support of Make a Wish Foundation.
“A group of us teachers and two parents have created a team called the Orchard Park Santa Runners, and we decided to put on these suits and run or walk five kilometres,” explained Carlene Anderson, who is a teacher at the Calverley Street school.
“My son has cerebral palsy, and the Orillia community has been so supportive of him with fundraising. They got him to a special surgery in the States, so this is a way to give back," said Anderson.
The HoHo Holiday Run organizers provided the Santa suits for the teachers to wear during their trek.
“We’ve got a few looks which is totally fine. We are letting people know we are supporting a charity. But I think people are shocked to see so many Santas running around Orillia.”
Anderson is surprised at the number of teachers who made a donation and volunteered to run.
“I can’t believe the turnout. I can’t believe how many teachers wanted to support it,” she said.
“It’s an important cause. My son was granted a wish and it was life-changing for my family to have while our child was so ill. It helped create good memories to help drown out the memories of being in the hospital," Anderson explained.
With their run admission fee and donations, the Orchard Park teachers have raised over $1,000 during the HoHo Holiday run. Anderson encourages people to support the Make a Wish Foundation during the holiday season.