NORWALK, Conn. – A Norwalk couple’s efforts to build on a local tradition has received “overwhelming support” over the past month and will help make Christmas Eve special for hundreds of children in the city.
Each year, Rick and Joan Setti turn their home into a large-scale “Christmas Village” with lights and wood cutouts of famous characters. This winter marks the 25th year the Settis have set up their display.
Dawn and Alex Monteiro decided to help their friends make their 25th anniversary special. The Monteiros set up a RocketHub donation drive to purchase teddy bears for Rick Setti to hand out on Christmas Eve, when he dresses up as Santa to greet neighborhood children.
“I know how much joy the Setti’s get from just seeing the visitors enjoy the lights and displays. Imagine how rewarding it will be for them to see the joy on the children’s faces when they also receive a gift to take home,” Dawn Monteiro said at the time.
The couple said the response has far exceeded their expectations. The online donation drive alone collected enough to pay for 300 stuffed animals. And two local businesses have also chipped in with their support.
Paul Clark of Splash Car Wash called Dawn not long after the story first appeared in the media, she says. He offered to donate some of the stuffed animals from his inventory directly to the cause.
Jerry Petrini of My Three Sons also called to contribute as well. Petrini’s contribution alone helped pay for another 500 stuffed animals.
“As a result of the overwhelming response from the community, there will be about 800 stuffed animals to give out as well as financial support for the Settis to truly make their 25th year very special,” the Monteiros said in an email.
My Three Sons will also hold a special fundraiser on Dec. 22 featuring visits from Santa and Mrs. Claus. The amusement center’s attractions will be free from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. that day. After 1 p.m., all proceeds from the center’s attractions will go to the Settis’ Christmas Village.
The Monteiros are also hoping to gather stories and photos of the Settis for an album to commemorate their 25th anniversary hosting the Christmas Village. Anyone who wishes to contribute can send information to firstname.lastname@example.org or the drive’s Facebook page.