Annual Toy Shop

Stephanie Seavey of Manchester loads toys into a bag for her children during the Salvation Army Toy Shop in Manchester on Dec. 20, 2020. The annual event is supported by the New Hampshire Union Leader Santa Fund, which kicks off at 5 p.m. Monday at the Dana Center at Saint Anselm College.

The Union Leader and the Salvation Army will kick off the annual Santa Fund drive Monday with help from comedian Juston McKinney, who will serve as emcee at the Dana Center at Saint Anselm College.

The event, behind held from 5 to 7 p.m., will include a silent auction, live music and a green screen for holiday keepsake photos.

For 62 years, the Union Leader Santa Fund has supported the Salvation Army. Money raised from the drive provides warm clothing, meals and toys for local families during the holidays, as well as support for Kids’ Café, summer camps and other critical programs and community services.

The Santa Fund kickoff usually begins with a luncheon, which has been suspended over the past two years due to the pandemic.

“We wanted to do a fully-masked event to prevent the spread of COVID,” said Bill Wilson, events and public relations manager for the Union Leader. “We had to come up with a different idea, and so it evolved into an evening show. The idea was to get people right after they get out of work.”

Recruiting New Hampshire-based standup comic McKinney became part of the plan, which also includes the Mistletones, an a cappella group.

“Juston McKinney wanted to help us out with this,” Wilson said. “He’s there to make the evening fun.”

The silent auction will begin at 5 p.m. and the program will begin at 6 p.m.

Tickets are $45 for individual tickets, $60 for a family of three, $80 for a family of four or a 10-pack for $425.

Visit www.unionleader.com/santafund to register and for more information. Guests will be required to wear masks regardless of their vaccination status.