Archive for Sunday, November 29, 2009

Economy sidelines ‘Sidewalk Santas’

November 29, 2009

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— The economy has taken a toll on a New York tradition: the “Sidewalk Santas” who collected money for the poor on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue.

The 107-year-old program has gone online for the second year in a row.

The nonprofit Volunteers of America-Greater New York says it doesn’t have the money to manage and pay formerly homeless men to play Santa and gather donations. Spokeswoman Rachel Weinstein said many are elderly and in fragile health.

The Sidewalk Santas formerly set up chimney-like donation boxes in front of some of the city’s most expensive stores for a month before Christmas.

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