Stepping up for Santa: The Central Jersey tavern that saved Christmas
HAMILTON (Mercer) — A pub has made it to Santa's good list after taking on sponsorship of St. Nick's annual visit to all the good little children in this township.
After voters rejected the Hamilton fire budget, every program came under review, including the annual Operation Santa, according to a post on the Mercerville Fire Company Facebook page.
That's when Joe Scharibone, owner of neighboring JoJo's Tavern, stepped up and agreed to give the fire company a grant for this year's visit.
"They've been great neighbors of ours since 1962 (when JoJo's first opened). Anytime they ever needed anything they've been always been great to us over the past 54 years. Anytime I can help the community, especially something of this nature, I never think twice about doing," Scharibone, a member of the Hamilton Economic Development Committee and lifelong resident.
Scharibone remembers when he was growing up another fire company used to bring Santa to Hamilton.
"Now I have two children and for the past 13 years we've lived in Mercerville and we see Santa every year and my kids go bananas when they see him."
Mercerville Fire Chief Mike Tozzi told NJ.com "it's not really a big ticket item, but it's the spirit of it of what they're doing."
"They patronize my restaurant; I've catered their affairs. They're a great, tight-knit group of guys. They're a family and they're good to the community," Scharibone said.
Santa makes his annual trip to Hamilton on Dec. 23 and 24.
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