Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus -- and he's alive and well in Riverside.
On Monday, at the December meeting of the Flanders, Riverside and Northampton Civic Association, President Brad Bender held his annual toy drive to benefit needy children in the community.
For months, Bender has been urging FRNCA members to bring a toy to the holiday gathering and emphasized his goal of giving to kids in need close to home.
"Our toy drive was in full swing and we exceeded our expectations," Bender said.
"We got lots of toys for needy children in our community," FRNCA vice-president Vince Taldone agreed.
Bender, who will be delivering the toys to the Phillips Avenue Elementary School in Riverside on Wednesday morning, said the gifts will go to young children, in grades kindergarten through fourth.
"A huge thanks to all our members for making it a success," Bender said. "Many families will be blessed by their giving."
Also at the meeting, Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst and Deputy Supervisor Frank Zappone recapped the town's commitment to the FRNCA community and discussed ideas for the coming year.
Blue Duck Bakery Cafe owners also brought along a preliminary drawing of the bakery manufacturing facility to be built in Flanders. The bakery also donated coffee, cake, and a dozen loaves of artisan bread to the event; the bread was raffled off.