Santa bringing holiday joy to Ability Beyond residents in Bethel


BETHEL, Conn. (WTNH) — Santa Claus is coming to town to visit some folks who need a little extra holiday cheer right now. He’s surprising adults with special needs in a year that’s been such a challenge for them.

Santa swapped the sleigh for his truck as he visited group homes run by Ability Beyond Thursday morning. He and his elves have 29 homes to visit over the next few days.

Normally, the nonprofit hosts a holiday party for these residents — that can’t happen now due to Covid. It’s just one of the things they’ve missed out on this year.

Ability Beyond serves adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Covid restrictions and safety precautions have put a pause on their regular activities.

They tell us, this holiday season, this visit from Santa was so needed.

“They really have had to stay within their homes for the most part now for nine months in, and that’s been really tough for all of them,” said Heidi Chelednik, Director of Ability Beyond. “So anything that we can do to make things feel a little bit more normal in terms of the holiday season. I think we have to do that and anything to make them smile and feel loved.”

It’s been a difficult year for these residents and staff, but we’ve received word that they have all made the nice list.

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