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Santa plans early visit to Philadelphia’s Isaac A. Sheppard School

Independence Blue Cross “elves” preparing for Wednesday event

Philadelphia, PA – Santa Claus arrives early this year for the students at the Isaac A. Sheppard School in North Philadelphia, courtesy of the elves at Independence Blue Cross (IBC). Santa will make the pre-Christmas stop on Wednesday, December 19, 2012, during the school’s annual “Santa Day.”

All 283 students, from kindergarten through fourth grade, will receive an early holiday gift — wrapped and individually labeled with his or her name — from Santa Claus himself.

“We treasure our partnership with the Sheppard School and especially look forward to Santa Day every year when our associates give presents and winter coats for the children, and our Sounds of Independence chorus sings for the school.” said Daniel J. Hilferty, IBC president and CEO. “This is one of the many special activities that our volunteers undertake to make a difference in the community.”

The Sheppard School will also receive a gift on Santa Day. Hilferty will present Earobics, a reading intervention software program that helps improve reading proficiency and reading skills, to the school’s principal, James P. Otto.

Santa Day, an annual holiday tradition for the school, includes an interactive concert performed by the Independence Blue Cross choir, the Sounds of Independence.

Each year, hundreds of Independence Blue Cross associates donate new holiday gifts for the Sheppard School students. Every gift is individually selected for a specific child. To surprise the students with Santa’s arrival, a collection of undercover “elves” wrap, pack, and secretly ship the gifts to the school before the annual Santa Day event. In addition to the nearly 300 gifts for each of the Sheppard School students, Independence Blue Cross collected hundreds of new winter coats for the school to give to its students in need.

Independence Blue Cross has been a corporate sponsor of the Sheppard School, a 98 percent poverty-level school, for about 20 years. Independence Blue Cross has been offering academic and social support through programs such as the Philadelphia Reads Power Partners program and various beautification projects.