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Christmas Wishes Come True in the Poconos

EAST STROUDSBURG, Pa. — Busy volunteers are wrapping presents at the Elks Club in East Stroudsburg.  All these gifts will go to children in need.

“This is amazing. I love doing this. It’s my favorite time,” said Dawn Debiase, East Stroudsburg.

The holiday happening is part of the annual Olsen Christmas Wish Event.

It was created by Stroud Area Regional Police Officer Chris Shelly.

“It’s amazing. I am not even calling people. They are calling me now saying, ‘how can I get involved and how can I donate?’ This thing got massive really quick. It’s a good problem to have,” said Officer Chris Shelly.

The holiday event is in memory of Officer Jeff Olsen.  Olsen died in 2006. His only sister comes every year to help.

“What started as heartbreak for us, look what it has turned into. Any time to have Jeff remembered and help people in need. He loves it. I know he would love it. He is smiling from above. No doubt,” said Patty Muller, Jeff Olsen’s sister.

This event has grown significantly over the years. More than 80 children will get presents this holiday season — everything from big electronics, toys, gift cards and more.

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

“It’s great giving back to the community. It’s a great experience. It’s humbling,” said Wayne McIntyre, East Stroudsburg.

“I think it’s really nice. We are giving things to people who don’t have, compared to people who do,” said Mariah Gallo, East Stroudsburg.

After the children open presents and visit with Santa.  The families were treated to a dinner.


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