“Corona can’t stop Santa!” says Joe Mure, the mastermind behind the scenes of the Little North Pole in Neponsit. The Little North Pole, located at 144-03 Newport Avenue, has been a holiday charity event that has thrilled children here in the Rockaways for decades. However, what most people do not know, is the amount of time and effort that goes into decorating and organizing this event for the community. On Saturday, November 7, Mure and countless volunteers unloaded numerous trucks filled with Christmas decorations and began the month-long decorating process. “There is a lot of work that needs to be done, and this is just the beginning. Beginning the first Saturday after Halloween, we are here every weekend, working, adding decorations, and setting up until the actual day of the event,” Mure said.
However, due to COVID-19, this year was certainly different from past years. All volunteers abided by social distancing guidelines, had masks on at all times, and were provided with gloves. Along the trees outside the house, as well on all doors of the house, were signs stating: “Please wear your mask and practice social distancing for your safety. Thank you.” Mure stressed that these signs, as well as many additional signs will be added for the day of the lighting ceremony, ensuring that the Little North Pole will be conducted in a safe manner. The details and date of that event are still up in the air.
“There are a lot of uncertainties going forward, but we at the Little North Pole are working hard to make sure that we continue to create memories for each and every child here in Rockaway,” Mure said. Volunteers of all ages worked hard unloading the trucks full of Christmas decorations, and expressed how happy they were to help. One volunteer, Nino Sclafani said, “Joe Mure is a great man. No, actually, he’s the best man for what he does with the Little North Pole and for this community. It is the least I can do to help make this year’s Little North Pole possible.”
Mure and another volunteer at the Little North Pole, Tony Orzano, emphasized how this event could not be possible without the continuous help of so many. Orzano said, “I want to stress how important all these guys are. They put so much time, effort, and energy into helping us with the Little North Pole.” Mure and Orzano were so grateful for the help from so many members of the community. Not only were they appreciative of the many volunteers who came to help set up the Little North Pole on Saturday, but also for the many vendors that have already agreed to help on the day of the event. “I would like to give a special thanks to Call A Head, Visconti at Canarsie Market, and the House of Holiday for their generosity and help,” Mure said.
The Little North Pole event is held in an effort to give back to the community, as well as to raise awareness and donations for children that live with juvenile diabetes. Since the beginning, the main goal of this event is to put a smile on every child’s face, while simultaneously spreading Christmas cheer. It was important for members of the Little North Pole to hold the event this year, because they believe that the children will not only enjoy it, but they also need a bit of normalcy this year, even if it will look a little different.
Keeping this main goal in mind, Mure and his volunteers are dedicated to continuing the tradition of the Little North Pole, while ensuring that everyone stays healthy and safe. “Do we continue to raise money for the children that live with juvenile diabetes? Yes, but the question will be, how do we do this and how do we keep it safe?” Mure said.
Although the event date and particulars are still unsettled, Mure will stress to families that they cannot be gathered in large crowds, and all lines will be following social distance guidelines. Additionally, in order to attend the event, all attendees must be wearing masks.
Although this year’s Little North Pole may be different, the message of giving back to the children in this community and raising awareness for juvenile diabetes is still at the heart of the The Little North Pole’s purpose.
As Mure looked at the decorations being installed on Saturday, he announced, “Christmas is not canceled, in fact, it’s starting early for the Rockaways!”
To help support The Little North Pole’s effort to raise money for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, consider stopping by The Little North Pole in December (Dates TBA) or donating online at http://www2.jdrf.org/goto/LittleNorthPoleBLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS