For the second year in a row the Ruggiero Family Memorial Home will team up with the late Peter Felt’s wife, Patricia “Patti” Hurley-Felt, and son, Charles “Buddy” Felt, for the 2nd Annual Peter Felt Toy Drive.
The toy drive will kick off on Friday, Nov. 26 and run through Friday, Dec. 10 and donated toys can be dropped off or shipped to the Ruggiero Family Memorial Home in Orient Heights Square. There will also be an opportunity to donate toys at the annual Orient Heights Tree Lighting on Saturday, Dec. 10 from 4 to 5 p.m.
Felt, the man who brought smiles to thousands of faces over the years portraying Santa Clause at the Ruggiero Family Memorial Home-sponsored tree lighting in Orient Heights Square and other community events, died suddenly on January 3, 2020
Felt died just a few weeks after playing his beloved Santa role for the last time during Eastie’s holiday season. Before his untimely death, Felt brought joy to children, adults and seniors alike at Christmas time and played Santa during Eastie’s tree lighting ceremonies, caroling events and special holiday luncheons and dinners.
Last Christmas, in honor of his memory and the fact that COVID had cancelled the annual tree lighting that Felt was a larger than life presence, the Ruggiero Family Memorial Home partnered with Felt’s wife and son to host the first annual toy drive in his honor.
Joseph Ruggiero III said toys collected will be distributed to families in Eastie, Boston, Chelsea, Revere and Winthrop for the holiday.
“Last year went really well and we collected hundreds of toys,” said Ruggiero. “People were really supportive and we got donations from people all over the place. Some people even shipped toys right to the funeral home from Amazon so it was really nice. It’s a great way to help people in need and honor a man who always made that a priority during the holiday season.”
Although Felt grew up in Revere and lived in Winthrop he was committed to numerous organizations here in Eastie as a volunteer. He would play Santa for the Chamber of Commerce, the Kiwanis and, a few weeks before Christmas, play Santa for dozens of children and adults with special needs at an annual dinner at Spinelli’s.
Aside from his role as Eastie’s beloved Santa, Felt wouldn’t hesitate to lend a helping hand, listen to a story or share a story with those struggling with addiction. Felt was a longtime advocate for those struggling with addiction and at the time of his passing had 44 years of sobriety under his belt.
Ruggiero said the impact Felt had on Eastie and the surrounding communities was “endless.”