Weekly Feature



2017-12-06 / Front Page

Christmas caroling trailer making rounds in North Tonawanda

by NICK KONOTOPSKYJ
Reporter


The caroling group “XMAS Trailer” will be visiting neighborhoods in North Tonawanda every Saturday before Christmas, singing holiday songs and collecting nonperishable items for the North Tonawanda Food Pantry. The caroling group “XMAS Trailer” will be visiting neighborhoods in North Tonawanda every Saturday before Christmas, singing holiday songs and collecting nonperishable items for the North Tonawanda Food Pantry. There is a North Tonawanda caroling group of 30 people, ranging from 10 to 60 years old, who dress up in Christmas costumes and ride down the streets of North Tonawanda in a festive 25-foot trailer.

This is the fourth year that the group and its “XMAS Trailer” has spread holiday joy to residents of the town. This is the third year out of the four in which the group is collecting nonperishable food items and hygiene products for the North Tonawanda Food Pantry during its route through the neighborhoods.

The focus is centered on personal hygiene products, such as toothbrushes, toothpaste and deodorant, but the effort also includes food items such as cans of soup.

Martha Russell and Jacob Brosius are North Tonawanda High School graduates who are the organizers of this group.

“We are a very close-knit group of friends, and a few years ago, we were thinking what could we do together in the holiday season? We already had a 25-foot trailer so we came up with the idea to decorate it, dress up as characters and sing Christmas carols,” Brosius said.

According to Russell and Brosius, roughly 1,500 nonperishable items have already been collected, and the group will be seeking more items and visiting more neighborhoods every Saturday from now through Dec. 23. Typically, the trailer will visit between 500 and 600 homes per night.

“Our next step was how we could help the community, and that is where the [North Tonawanda] food pantry came into play,” Brosius said. “We went from 1,000 items in that second year to about 5,000 last year. This year, we are aiming for somewhere between 7,500 and 10,000 items raised.”

This year’s trailer was decorated like a red sleigh, and behind it is another 10-foot trailer in the shape of a giant present. That is where the group puts all of the donations members receive.

The group is decked out in costumes that range from Santa and Mrs. Claus to Charlie Brown, elves, presents, penguins, Yukon Cornelius, the Grinch, and many others. Some of the members make their own costumes.

They sing an array of Christmas songs, and according to both Russell and Brosius, the big hit out of all of them is “Dominick the Donkey.”

“We all get a great joy from this. When we go to the food pantry with a trailer full of donations, the people who work there are in tears,” Brosius said. “They can’t believe the amount that we bring and not even from an organization, but a group of friends.”

Brosius’ father, Tom, not only helps out, but drives the school bus that pulls the trailer. There is a live tracker residents can use called Glympse, which is a free way for the group to share its location in real time.

After Christmas is over, Brosius will send all of the items to the North Tonawanda Food Pantry before the end of the year.

For more information, search “XMAS Trailer” on Facebook.

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