DENNISON (WJER) (Sept. 26, 2023) – Volunteer training for the Polar Express is Wednesday evening at the First Presbyterian Church.
First-time elves begin their training at 6, returning elves 15 minutes later, and other helpers including storytellers and ticket takers at 7. Dennison Depot Executive Director Wendy Zucal says it’s a fun and festive way for families to give back together and students to get their community service hours.
“We also write a lot of letters of support for later on as our elves get older, and they go on to college or to jobs or are looking for scholarships. They can always count on us if they’ve been a volunteer on the Polar Express to write them a letter of support and help them as much as we can.”
The Polar Express draws thousands of visitors to the depot each year to experience the award-winning children’s book by Chris Van Allsburg brought to life. Zucal says they’ve never had to cancel or scale back because of a lack of volunteers, which says a lot about the community and its love for the decades-old holiday tradition.
“It’s not just Dennison because we have volunteers from all surrounding communities that come down. We tell all schools in the county it’s going on and invite them to be volunteers, so we are very, very fortunate to have such great support from people of all ages.”
The first train leaves for the North Pole on Nov. 30 with rides on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays through Dec. 10. For tickets, visit dennisondepot.eventbrite.com or call the depot at 740-922-6776.