By Peg Rusconi, WBZ-TV

BOSTON (CBS) — Jake Kennedy is a physical therapist by trade– fixing injured bodies.

For the last 22-years, he’s worked miracles on sagging spirits, with Christmas in the City. The all-volunteer celebration brings Santa and presents to homeless kids.

Just as children write letters to Santa, their parents write letters to Jake.

He read snippets of them when we visited, pulling the letters from a thick folder of heartbreak. “I find myself in the most unusual position to have to request gift assistance for my child,” wrote one mother.

“As a mother it is not a good feeling,” wrote another. “I have a little boy, his name is Marcel, he’s 6.”

“What’s different this year,” said Kennedy, “is the volume. The need never stops.”

He says this economy has put many in dire straits. “And then the agencies that typically help people are underfunded and they’re throwing their hands up in the air and saying, ‘Try Christmas in the City.'”

2,800 kids will attend the party this weekend.

WBZ-TV’s Peg Rusconi reports.

About a decade ago, the party alone could no longer accommodate the requests for help Kennedy was fielding, so Christmas in the City began providing gifts to other needy families. That number reached 2,000 last year. There are more than 5,000 requests this year.

“They’re really desperate to have a Christmas. And I’m worried we won’t have enough toys.”

He needs people who can donate to call now, so he and his army of volunteers can ensure a proper workout for some of the smallest muscles in children’s bodies– the ones they use to smile.

The deadline for donations is midnight Friday.

To make a cash or toy donation, or to buy gifts for a specific child in the program, go to or call (617)542-6611.

CITC is all volunteer, with no paid staff.


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