By Ian Bush

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – It’s a Christmas to remember for families, who, because of disease or natural disaster, can’t afford to put gifts under the tree.

It’s thanks to the non-profit Committee to Benefit the Children and a couple hundred volunteers, many of them from La Salle College High School.

It’s the 31st year that Jim McCloskey is transforming himself into Santa.

“What we try to do is fill the void,” says McCloskey.

(Jim McCloskey  Credit: Ian Bush)

(Jim McCloskey Credit: Ian Bush)

Together with his elves, he packs a sleigh full of gifts and visits more than 100 homes on Christmas Eve.

“Children that have been given the double-whammy of being medically challenged as well as financially challenged; that’s the group that again somehow gets missed. We don’t miss them,” explains McCloskey.

Some of these kids have been given a half-day reprieve from their St Christopher’s Hospital bed. They’re suffering from advanced cancers and other diseases, but McCloskey says they think only of their brothers and sisters.

“I ask the child 10 days before Christmas to write a letter to Santa. And not once has a child asked for anything for themselves,” he says.

On Saturday Philly’s version of the North Pole brought cheer to Staten Island, hit hard by Hurricane Sandy.

“Everything from clothing, jackets, hats, gloves, non-perishables, toys, just to let them know they’re not forgotten,” he says.

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