Answering Christmas Wishes in the Poconos

EAST STROUDSBURG, Pa. -- Dozens of families are about to get a Christmas surprise thanks to a police department and community members in Monroe County.

Families lined up at Lehigh Valley Hospital Pocono waiting for Santa to arrive.

A Stroud Area Regional police officer came up with the Olsen Christmas Wish 11 years ago, and this year it's bigger than ever.

The Elks Club in East Stroudsburg turned into Santa's Workshop as dozens of volunteers wrapped presents of all shapes and sizes for the annual Olsen Christmas Wish event. Presents will go to more than 70 children in need.

"This is very important because they don't always have what other kids have and you want everyone to have the same," Elena Gupko said.

This holiday happening was created by Stroud Area Reginal Officer Chris Shelly. He came up with the idea after one of his fellow officers died in 2006.

The event has grown significantly over the years with this one being the biggest.

"It's unbelievable," said Officer Shelly. "The community really rallies around this thing and it's a great way to remember our fallen by serving others. It's awesome."

This year is extra special for the Olsen Christmas Wish because Officer Shelly won a national competition that recognizes events like this. He won $5,000 dollars and two other businesses matched it.

"Here we are $15,000 in the plus and our great fundraising and our great generosity from the community we are…we did very well with money this year. The more money we get, the more kids we are going to help and that's the way it is," said Officer Shelly.

Volunteers who help wrap gifts say they are so grateful for all the support for this event and they enjoy seeing the children's happy faces when the time comes.

"This is awesome and that's just it. It's great, it's great to be a part of," said Kelly Quaresimo from Rudy's Tavern.

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