Hundreds of students are surprised with an early Christmas plus parade at the Fourth Annual Lehigh Valley Labor Council Toy Drive

Santa made a special trip to Roosevelt Elementary School, a United Way Community School in the Allentown School District, and brought a parade of vehicles full of presents.

The holiday magic started with an early delivery from Santa to the Roosevelt Elementary AS (Autistic Support) class. TeenWorksTM, an affinity group of United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley (UWGLV), adopted the class and gifted presents they had on their list.

On Friday, December 15, Santa’s helpers loaded, delivered and unpacked those gifts for all of Roosevelt’s students during the fourth annual Lehigh Valley Labor Council Toy Drive.

Capital Blue Cross, local labor unions and dozens of volunteers met at United Auto Workers Local 677 on Mack Blvd in Allentown to prepare Santa’s “sleighs,” which included a Teamster Local 773 trailer, a UA Local 677 trailer, a fire engine and a LANta bus for the big holiday delivery. The vehicles filled with gifts paraded down to Roosevelt Elementary where they met the students, along with surprise guests Santa, aka Allentown Mayor Matt Tuerk, IronPigs’ Hambone and other familiar characters.

TeenWorks is made up of a diverse group of local middle and high school students and local members of organized labor. This organization, which operates solely in the Lehigh Valley, began in 1999 as a partnership with the labor community and United Way. The group meets monthly and helps to fund community service projects throughout the Lehigh Valley from various youth groups. Over 500 organizations have received grants of up to $1,000.00 for their projects. In addition to funding projects, TeenWorks board members have a strong group of volunteers who can be counted on to do anything from building shelves to distributing mulch.

TeenWorks and Capital Blue Cross have shared the financial support for Roosevelt for the past six years. TeenWorks and Capital Blue Cross entered into this unique relationship over twenty years ago and have produced significant results.

Special thanks to Lehigh Valley Labor Council for their deep commitment to Roosevelt and the groups who provided donations/financial support for this year’s toy drive: UAW 677, Teamsters 773, Laborers 158, Laborers 1174, AFSCME, Workers United, AEA, Operating Engineers 542, Allentown Firefighters, Allentown Police Department, Lehigh County Sheriff’s Office, ATU 956, LANTA, Mack Trucks, Cohen, Feeley, Altemose & Rambo, Capital Blue Cross,  IATSE 200, SEIU 668, United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley, Communities in Schools, United Way TeenWorks, Lehigh Valley IronPigs, Lehigh Valley Print Center, USW, among others.