Sidewalk Santas Take Posts

Sidewalk Santas from Volunteers of America are planning to march up Fifth Avenue and take posts all over New York City to collect money for charity.

Linda McNeil, the group's communications director, tells The Early Show where the money will go.

Volunteers of America was founded in New York City in 1818. This year marks the organization's 97th annual fund-raiser for charity.

The group is one of New York's largest nonprofit providers of services to homeless people. The money collected is turned into food vouchers for people living with AIDS, troubled youths, and those with mental illness or substance dependencies.

Every year these Santas raise about $40,000, she says. But this year they may do even better because of corporate sponsorships, she adds. Brooks Brothers will be donating and the group is also working with Reebok and Procter & Gamble.

Volunteers go to school to learn how to become a Santa Claus.

Smaller children can't tell the difference between the Santa in the mall and one on the sidewalk, so they often ask for presents rather than give them. The volunteers are trained to say they are just Santa Claus' helpers.

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