Boston, MA - On Sunday, December 5th the VNA of Boston’s 17th Annual Holiday Express Train Ride chugged along the Haverhill/Reading Commuter Rail line filled with nearly 2,100 passengers dressed in their best holiday pajamas. The non-stop, hour and fifteen minute train ride departed from the Malden Center Commuter Rail Station and made stops picking up passengers at the Melrose Cedar Park Station and the Reading Depot Station.
Over 65 student volunteers from Malden, Melrose and Reading High Schools spent the day as Santa’s elves, enchanting the children with their magic and enthusiasm. The children enjoyed a visit from their favorite cartoon characters that came to life especially for the ride. Elmo, Winnie the Pooh, Tiger, Frosty the Snowman, the Cat in the Hat and Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer helped celebrate the much anticipated visit by Santa Claus. After a reading of “The Polar Express” by Santa’s elves, cookies and milk were served along with a gift bag and a coloring book! The children sang along with the holiday music, drew in their coloring books and in keeping with tradition, each child received a silver bell from Santa’s sleigh.
The VNA of Boston’s ability to care for our communities most vulnerable members is highly dependent upon the success of annual fundraising events like the Holiday Express Train Ride. Last year, through the generosity of our supporters, our Free Care Fund allowed us to care for 500 patients without insurance or resources to pay for their care. Additionally, our Maternal Child Health Program provided direct care and specialized support services to almost 2,400 children and their families, making it one of the largest programs of its kind in Massachusetts.