DOVER — Santa and Mrs. Claus were joined by a slew of local “elves” on Saturday, as they all pushed brightly decorated grocery carts down Central Avenue on Saturday.
Santa and his helpers were visiting local businesses to collect non-perishable food items the establishments had been collecting all month. The last stop on the list was Community Action Partnership of Strafford County, located at 61 Locust St., to drop off the collections, which will be distributed to local families in need. The effort was coordinated by Dover Main Street.
“We had about 30 businesses that had put boxes out for their clients to donate the food items,” said Kerry Vaughn, vice president of Dover Main Street, a nonprofit civic group that does projects to promote downtown Dover. “This was done in the city several years ago and then it kind of disappeared. We want to bring it back (for) every year. We asked the businesses to help and recruited volunteers for the collection.”
The grocery carts were donated by Hannaford. Vaughn said they were very gracious about letting Dover Main Street staff take as many as they needed for the food drive.
The silver shopping carts were festively decorated and had signs that read “Ho, Ho, Ho! Off we go to the Food Pantry.”
“These are all of our helpers,” said Santa. “They are elves for the afternoon. Dover is one of our favorite spots because it is full of Christmas magic.”
One elf, Danica Vaughn, 8, came out to help her mom.
“I like doing this because I know I am helping people who need the food,” Danica said.
Danica brought her friends Amelia and Ella Froton to help. Kerry Vaughn recruited her sister Babette Edy and her nephew Riley, 4, to help as well.
Contributing businesses included: Alie Jewelers; Dover Wine and Brew; Kali-Klass; Market Square Jewelers; Cinco de Mayo Bar & Grill; Oriental Delight; Ear Craft Music; Jewelry Creations; Nicole’s Hallmark; Harvey’s Bakery and Coffee Shop; Best of Times Barber Shop; Dover Brickhouse; Thirsty Moose Taphouse; Elite Hobbies; Sprint Store; Hidden History Tattoo; Sonny’s Tavern; La Festa Brick & Brew Pizzeria; Dos Amigos Burritos; Adelle’s Coffee House; Needful Things; Noggin Factory; 7th Settlement Brewery; Pear Tree Gifts; Just The Thing!; Garrison City Beerworks; The Flower Room; Childlight Yoga; and Ross Furniture.