Santa's Jukebox is a program that buys Christmas presents for underprivileged children; it was started by Saranac lake police chief William Wallace in 1948, and continued by his family. For many years the equipment was provided by Earl Kinville's Amusement & Vending company.
Adirondack Daily Enterprise, December 21, 1953
Did You Contribute To Santa's Juke Box?
"Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" for approximately 150 needy Saranac Lake children, thanks to contributions to the Santa Claus Juke Box which totaled $938.96 as of noon today.
But Police Chief William Wallace reported that there are forty-three boys and girls on his list for whom he had not yet been able to have gifts purchased.
"As a matter of fact," he said, there are at least thirty additional children I know about personally for whom Christmas will be just another day in the year with not a gift to bring them joy."
Contributions may be made to the police department, left at WNBZ or at the office of The Enterprise.
Adirondack Daily Enterprise, December 3, 1994
Excerpted from The spirit of holiday giving thrives in the Tri-Lakes, by Katy O'Dell Wilson and Matthew Russell
In Saranac Lake, a Broadway store window display in the Thompson Building reminds residents about this year's Santa's Jukebox program. Building owner Rob Grant donated the presently unused office space for the annual holiday project. Sponsored by WNBZ radio and overseen by Alice Scollin, the fundraiser was started in 1948 by Scollin's father, Bill Wallace. He and Ray Turner, a local radio announcer, "decided to try to raise money and try to give (needy) children a Christmas," Scollin said. The name of the program came from the donated jukebox that was set up years ago in Berkeley Square and played music to call attention to the fund raiser, Scollin explained.
In the early days, funds were collected from those who would call in to a radio talent show and make donations for each performance by a local personality.
They shopped (for toys) as they got money," Scollin said. Then volunteers would spend the night before Christmas delivering the goodies.
"I can't remember a Christmas Eve when my father was home" Scollin said.
She took over administering the program in 1973 after her father died, and is still assisted in the effort by her mother, Alice Wallace. These days, Scollin gets a wish list ahead of time from interested families.
"We buy only what they want," she said.
In the early days, the children's presents were wrapped at the radio station's former location in Berkeley Square. Now, Scollin looks each year for a space such as an empty storefront to serve as home base for the program. She credits the residents of Saranac Lake for the continuing success of the holiday fund-raiser.
"We wouldn't have a Santa's Jukebox if it wasn't for the generosity of the people in this area," she emphasized.
Members of groups such as Kiwanis Club and realtors at Rob Grant and Associates this year will help wrap the gifts, an effort overseen by Scollin's sister, Barbara Stunzi. And Muriel Beeseth of WNBZ continues her long-time position as secretary-treasurer of the program and keeps tabs on the incoming funds and expenditures.
"I have the fun part. I shop," said Scollin.