Santa arrives early in North Bergen

Kris Kringle gives presents to Housing Authority children

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Children living the North Bergen Housing Authority got their gifts a week early at the third annual Christmas Party at Lawler Towers last Saturday.
Each child walked up to Santa to get a gift.
Sebastian Moza, 9, said Christmas is his favorite time of year. โ€œYou get to see the people in your family and you get presents,โ€ he said, focusing on his free lunch of pizza.

Waiting on Santaโ€™s gifts

Mozaโ€™s cousin Ceana Castello, 6, had a specific gift wish in mind: โ€œShopkins!โ€ she exclaimed, referring to the popular toy brand.
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โ€œIt’s a very positive thing to be done in the Housing Authority.โ€ — Mayor Sacco
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Her older brother Jayden, 11, seemed slightly less interested in the Santa aesthetic. โ€œIt’s fun for little ones, and it’s nice,โ€ he said. He was hoping for a new basketball so he could work on his skills as point guard for Horace Mann No. 9’s basketball team.
โ€œIt’s a very positive thing to be done in the Housing Authority,โ€ Mayor Nicholas Sacco commented as the kids began receiving their gifts.
โ€œWe love this party, my staff and I,โ€ said Gerald Sanzari, the Authorityโ€™s director. โ€œAnd with the support of the township and the mayor, we organize this party every year We buy gifts for all the children that come from low-income families.โ€
The process began with a tree lighting in November. There, children wrote down the gifts they wanted and put them in a mailbox. Sanzari’s staff got them and ensured each kid received at least one gift from the list.
Sanzari also helps raise money for the event through The Renaissance Corp, his non-profit organization for affordable housing in North Bergen. Businesses throughout the township also help pitch in for the cost.
โ€œThis is a great time,โ€ Sanzari said. โ€œThe kids really enjoy it. To have Santa Claus here, and make sure these kids get at least one gift from us at the Housing Authority, it’s a wonderful thing.โ€