It’s Saturday, early in the morning, and the foyer of the Radio Hall looks very busy and very much alive. We have stated our work the night before, after putting on our elves costumes. Dozens of packs of colorful gifts were carefully placed under nine beautifully decorated Christmas trees. What catches your eye immediately is a huge teddy bear, so big that it did not fit in any box. This morning we do the finishing touches and take another look to make sure that everything is in place.
A little after ten o’clock, the children start to arrive. A merry crowd emerging from buses into the Radio Hall lobby, where two clowns give them colorful balloons and make them laugh even more. These children come from all over the country. For some of them it is a true adventure. Their first time leaving home and the first time they see a… tram.
On entering the hall, our 380 little guests are seated in chairs marked with the name of their respectively NGOs. They are very excited and ask for Santa. But we tell them that first of all, we want them to watch a show. One of the elves proves its courage by stepping in the role of the MC. And then the music starts. Everybody is singing and dancing, on stage as well as in the concert hall, which is full of colorful balloons. A courageous little man gets up on the stage and sings wholeheartedly alongside Bodo from Proconsul. He knows all the lyrics and acts like a superstar.
And then the long-awaited moment arrives. Children sing a traditional carol and Santa enters the stage, wearing his long, red coat. The children cheer and rush to him, each wanting to talk to Santa and make sure his letter was received. Calmly, Santa reassures them. Yes, he has received all the letters and all the gifts are prepared for them outside the concert hall.
While it is clear that their patience is long gone, the children behave and exit into the foyer of the Radio Hall, walking towards the Christmas Trees to find their presents.
Like every year, this is the most exciting and emotional moment. The foyer is overrun by children accompanied by volunteers who are here to meet the little ones. They open the gifts. Some children are joyful, others cry (and so do some of us), while others are so overwhelmed that they cannot react in any way. But we know they will be very happy once the excitement is gone.
We help them pack their gifts in big bags, specially prepared for them. We take some pictures with Santa, and then, we guide the children to the exit, where coaches are waiting to take them back to their homes.
Here we are, looking at 380 happy children, carrying 380 huge bags full of gifts.
See you again next year.
„Letters to Santa” is the largest volunteering program of the Vodafone Romania Foundation. This year, 380 children from day care centers and social centers in Bucharest, Sibiu, Costesti (Arges), Giurgiu, Ramnicu Sarat, Nicoresti (Galati), Priponesti (Galati), Buftea, Ilimbav (Sibiu) Slobozia and Harseni (Brasov), have received their Christmas gifts due to the 380 volunteers from Vodafone, who have agreed to act as Santa’s helpers.