NEWPORT CITY – For much of the year, Tony Pomerleau is known for his business ventures in the forms of commercial real estate. During the holiday season, however, people call him Santa Claus.
"This year, the party will be bigger and better than ever," he told the Newport Daily Express.
For 30 years, Pomerleau has held a holiday party for needy families from the Burlington area. For the past three years, Pomerleau, who grew up in Newport, has hosted a similar party for families of the Northeast Kingdom.
This year’s party will be held on Saturday, Dec. 3, at the Eastside Restaurant. It will include a buffet meal as well as presents and activities for youngsters. There will also be entertainment. Each family who attends will receive a certificate for a free turkey. Santa and his reindeer will also attend the party.
Local community service programs will assist the Newport Recreation Department in determining who will receive an invention to the party, which is otherwise closed. The most that can attend is 300 individuals.
Pomerleau said he understands how much it means for the families to have a nice party. “We didn’t have any money, but I was never poor, because I had a very nice family and a comfortable house,” he said.
Many people are grateful for Pomerleau’s efforts. Last year he received thank-you letters from families who were grateful he had thought of them.
“I get a real pleasure in seeing these little kids eating, getting their presents and having a good time,” said Pomerleau.
For some people, this is the only holiday dinner they will have.
Pomerleau promises the holiday party will continue, even after he passes on.