DIX HILLS, N.Y. - For most of the year, she's Jennifer Scully, a 50-year-old interior designer. Come the last week in October until Christmas, she is Mrs. Claus. Instead of the North Pole, her Dix Hills home is her workshop.
"We can all do something to help someone in need," Scully said.
Jill Galina is one of nearly 2,000 volunteers.
"Hanukkah, Christmas — I want to make sure they have an amazing holiday," Galina said.
When Scully started in 2010, the founder of Help Mrs. Claus was a single mom with only $38 to her name.
"My thought went to children who are in situations where their parents can't lift themselves up," she said.
A list with just a handful of kids has grown to more than 500.
"I have letters from children asking for a warm blanket and a hug," she said.
There's a needs list and then wants.
"'I need food, I need snacks for school, I need juice boxes, I need socks and shoes and a winter coat,'" Scully said. "Every letter is unique. Sometimes it's a 'present for my family' or 'present for my mom.'"
From Harlem to Mastic, Scully plans to deliver the rest of the gifts over the next few days. She makes sure any child asking for clothes gets about a week's worth of outfits. She also plans to donate 7,000 pounds of beans and rice to feed hungry children.
"It's close to a thousand families," she said.
A few hundred of those families will receive gifts thanks to Mrs. Claus through an event with the NYPD.
Scully also helps kids at the Hispanic Counseling Center in Hempstead.
"Some kids in our community have no other Christmas gift," CEO Claudia Boyle said. "That's all they get for Christmas."
Donations are still needed to help with holiday dinners and fulfill last-minute lists.
"It's not about Santa or a religion," Scully said. "It's about how to lift people up who need a helping hand."