Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority Serving Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties

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A Good Yule Thanks to SEPTA Employees

Heather Redfern
Public Information Manager

Delivering toys around the world in one night is tough. For the last 36 years, SEPTA employees have given Santa a head start in the Greater Philadelphia Region through the Authority's annual Yule Toy Drive. And as they have in past, SEPTA staff didn't disappoint Jolly Old St. Nick- they donated more than 10,000 toys for deserving boys and girls in SEPTA's five-county service region.

"We have barrels at all of our properties. Our employees filled them to the brim and more," said SEPTA General Manager Jeff Knueppel. "This is a great way we can give back to the community."

Where Santa spends all year getting ready for Christmas, employees from all SEPTA districts, depots, shops and Headquarters collect their toys in the month between Thanksgiving and Christmas. This year, more toys than ever were dropped off in those bright red bins. "Yule Toy gets bigger every year," said Carol Looby, Secretary to the SEPTA Board and Yule Toy Coordinator. "When the red barrels were brought back to Headquarters, I couldn't believe how many gifts there were. Our employees go above and beyond to make sure thousands of children have a happy holiday."

Getting more than 10,000 toys ready for delivery is no small feat. A team of SEPTA "elves" spend an entire day sorting games, dolls, sporting equipment, action figures and bikes and stuffing them into sacks, working with assembly line precision. To get the presents to the children, SEPTA takes its version of Santa's sleigh - a festively decorated bus - to transport presents to the recipient organizations. "I don't think we could have squeezed another package on the bus," said Looby. "It was packed floor-to-ceiling."

Groups receiving gifts as part of Yule Toy 2016 included St. Veronica and Incarnation, Calvary Chapel Word of Life, Neighbor to Neighbor, Woodland Academy and The Rock.

"It's a wonderful feeling for our employees to go to these locations and deliver scads of toys and know that children all over the city will have smiling faces on Christmas because of their efforts," said Knueppel.

Bags of toys and bikes were on display in SEPTA's 1234 Market Street Headquarters before being loaded onto the bus.

GM Knueppel and the "elves" packed the Peanuts-themed bus with bikes and bags of dolls, games, puzzles and sporting equipment.

The bus was full-to-overflowing with gifts.

Before leaving on their special delivery, Santa's helpers and GM Knueppel stopped for a photo.