15 Mar

What is the meaning behind the James D. Rielly Foundation logo?

James D. Rielly Foundation charitable support to the children and families of military personnel and first responders in need

The “mark” in the James D. Rielly Foundation logo is a four leaf clover. According to Irish folklore, the four leaves of the clover represent: hope, faith, love, and luck.

The clover represents the immense pride Jim Rielly had for his Irish heritage. Jim would often jokingly refer to himself as the Visible President of the Leprechauns.

The shade of green in the clover is the same green in the flag of Ireland.

Each leaf in the clover is in the shape of a heart. The single red leaf (or heart) represents the love Jim Rielly had for his country, the community, and the less fortunate.

The red also symbolizes Jim Rielly’s role as Santa Claus and his love for all children.

Lastly, the single red leaf among the three green leaves, represents Michael Rielly’s Italian and Irish heritage and the continuing of his grandfather’s legacy as Santa Claus.

11 Mar

The Gift This of Santa: Himself

As we continue to go through our archives of past news articles on Jim Rielly, we will post them here. Yesterday, we came across this article from a December 1957 issue of the Providence Journal-Bulletin.

The Real Santa in Bristol County is (ssshhhh) James D. Rielly

To become Santa Claus takes more than a white beard, red suit and sack full of gifts; the real Santa Chars must have an honest love for his fellow men. In Bristol you will find a real Santa Claus.

About 30 years ago, James D. Rielly stuffed his first pair of red trousers with the pillows to acquire the portliness of Santa. Time and appetite have eliminated the need for pillows, but the month of December still finds Mr. Rielly standing in red trousers.

Mr. Rielly buys very few of the gifts he passes out during the Christmas season. The real Santa Claus depends on others to provide the gift-wrapped parcels that are found beneath the Christmas tree. All Jim Rielly provides is that unnamed thing that helps an oldtimer recall a warm and happy memory of times past, or the nervous smile of delight that floods a youngster’s face when confronted by Santa Claus.

This is what the real Santa Claus gives at Christmas-time. Jim Rielly gives of himself at Christmas. The sack slung over his shoulder is always overflowing with good cheer. Whether he is stopping at a lonely lighthouse or at a party for shut-ins or at a children’s party, his eyes twinkle brightly as he peers over the tops of his silver rimmed spectacles.

His suit was tailored by a friend; his boots, spectacles and even the fur trim that edges his jacket were gifts. His beard was a Christmas present from his wife.

When asked why, Jim Rielly will tell you he becomes Santa Claus at Christmastime because it is the best thing he can give. You won’t find Jim Rielly enthroned in a department store, but you will find a Jim Rielly in the true spirit of Christmas.

For Jim Rielly gives the best thing he can at Christmas. He gives himself.

What are your memories of Jim Rielly? Please share them. We would love to hear from you!

01 Mar

Found: A 700-Year-Old Ring Adorned With St. Nicholas

During the Middle Ages, it was not uncommon for wearers to don multiple rings, each signaling a different aspect of identity, from social class to political affiliation.

Last month, Dekel Ben-Shitrit, a 26-year-old gardener, found a 700-year-old bronze ring bearing an engraved image of St. Nicholas. The ring was studied by Dr. Yana Tchekhanovetz, an expert in Byzantine history at the Israel Antiquities Authority.

“This special ring is amazingly well preserved and will contribute a great deal to science,” she explained, in a statement. “On the ring is the image of a bald man with a staff next to him. On preliminary examination, this seems to be St. Nicholas holding a bishop’s crook – his hallmark.”

Christian pilgrims to the Land of Israel from all over the Byzantine Empire (Turkey, the Balkans, Greece and present-day Russia) would carry his icon to protect them from harm. It is probable that the ring belonged to a pilgrim who sought the protection of St. Nicholas on his travels.

07 Feb

Local St. Nick Asks Bristolians Play Host to GIs

We found this while going through the archives at the Bristol Phoenix. From the December 9, 1952 edition of the Bristol Phoenix:

For servicemen away from home at Christmas, James D. Rielly today made an appeal. He would like to see Bristol families who will have an empty place at their Christmas table, invite some lonesome servicemen and make him feel at home although he may be miles away from it.

We continue Jim Rielly’s work today by working closely with local veterans and military family support groups in our community.

Learn more about our foundation and how you can help!

31 Jan

U.S. Senate: James D. Rielly – A Truly Remarkable Santa Claus

On January 31, 1979 — thirty-nine (39) years ago today, Senator Claiborne Pell entered Jim Rielly’s name to the United States Congressional Record.

In 1979, Jim Rielly was celebrating 51 years of donning the Red Suit. Jim went on to portray the Jolly Old Elf for the next 12 years, making him the longest running Santa Claus to date.

Mr. President, before the pleasures and memories of the recent holiday season slip our minds completely, I would like to share with my colleagues a tribute to a truly remarkable “Santa Claus” from Rhode Island.

I am referring to Mr. James D. Rielly of Bristol, R.I. This past holiday period marks the 51st year in which Jim Rielly has donned red suit and white whiskers and with a large bag of goodies has visited hospitals, senior centers, and children’s centers throughout the East Bay area of Rhode Island.

His is a particularly effective and welcome presentation of Saint Nicholas because Jim Rielly is himself the personification of the spirit of cheerful, selfless giving of oneself for the benefit of others.

I am proud to be among the many thousands of Rhode Islanders who claim to be good friends of Jim Rielly, and I join all of those friends in the mutual hope that Jim will be bringing his special brand of seasonal joy to Rhode Island for many years more years.

In 2010, Jim Rielly was entered into the International Santa Claus Hall of Fame in recognition of his extraordinary selflessness and kindness, and his contribution to the Santa Claus community.

26 Dec

Warren RI, Family Gets Christmas Surprise

WARREN, R.I. (WJAR) — The Warren Fire Department, along with volunteers, made the holiday season a little more merry and bright for a family of six. And it was all a big surprise.

“I first was told to put on my shoes, and then I heard the sirens,” Chloe Durand told NBC 10 News Wednesday night. “And then I saw Santa Claus.”

Santa was happy to help.

“You’ll be unwrapping for weeks,” he told the family.

The truth is, it’s been a hard year for the Durand family. About eight months ago, Maya Durand was hit by a car. She suffered two broken legs. While she is lucky to be alive, the crash ultimately put their family through financial hardship.

“We just had struggles from there on out,” Sarah Durand said. “And, so this is unbelievable.”

But in this special moment, Chloe, Maya, Jonna and the youngest, Wyatt, forgot all their troubles.

“Thank you doesn’t seem enough to say,” Sarah said.

They were swept with joy – and even Santa got emotional.

“It did bring a little tear to Santa’s eyes his year,” he said.

The James D. Rielly Foundation coordinated the efforts.

SOURCE: http://turnto10.com/news/local/warren-family-gets-christmas-surprise

27 Nov

James D. Rielly Foundation Helps Santa Visit Those in Need

James D. Rielly Foundation

Photo: Jennifer McGrath Winegeart

James D. Rielly Foundation Helps Santa Visit Those in Need

There’s a real life Santa Claus living right here in Rhode Island. Michael Rielly is from Bristol, Rhode Island, and he donates his time and talent to those who are in need by making appearances as Santa Claus.

Representing Santa is a Rielly family tradition that was started by Michael’s grandfather, James D. Rielly, during the Great Depression.

This year, Michael established a nonprofit in his grandfather’s name to preserve his legacy and continue his work of spreading holiday cheer. According to the James D. Rielly Foundation website, jdrfoundation.org, “In 1928 at the age of nineteen, Jim Rielly appeared as Santa Claus for a family living in an abandoned chicken coop. For more than sixty years, he would bring cheer to orphanages, hospitals, nursing homes, schools, churches, charitable organizations, military bases and the Rhode Island State House.”

SOURCE: http://www.rimonthly.com/james-d-rielly-foundation-helps-santa-visit-need/

29 Aug

James D. Rielly Foundation Receives 501(c)(3) Nonprofit Status

James D. Rielly Foundation

Rhode Island based charity helps the children and families of veterans, active military, and first responders.

Providence, RI (PRWEB) August 29, 2017

The James D. Rielly Foundation is proud to announce that it has been formerly granted tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the United States Internal Revenue Code. Contributions donated to the James D. Rielly Foundation are fully tax-deductible retroactive to the founding of the organization.

The James D. Rielly Foundation is also now eligible to apply for government and foundation grants, which will further broaden its access to resources and strengthen its ability to serve the members of the community.

Funded entirely by private donations, The James D. Rielly Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, volunteer organization founded by Michael Rielly to honor the life and legacy of his grandfather, James D Rielly. The Foundation provides charitable support to the children and families of veterans, active military, and first responders.

Born in 1908, James (Jim) D. Rielly was a lifelong resident of Bristol Rhode Island and well known throughout New England for his kindness, generosity, and countless charitable acts. Over the course of his lifetime, Jim Rielly was the recipient of numerous awards and received letters of recognition from celebrities and dignitaries from all over the world; Eleanor Roosevelt, Senators Theodore Francis Green, Claiborne Pell, and John Chafee, Presidents Dwight Eisenhower and Richard Nixon, and even his Holiness, Pope John Paul II, just to name a few.

Jim Rielly was best known as Rhode Island’s own “Santa Claus”, where he portrayed the role of Jolly Old St. Nick for over 60 years. Much of his time in the red suit was spent bringing joy to the children and families of servicemen and women and first responders.

“In honor of my grandfather’s dedication to the community and those less fortunate, we established the James D. Rielly Foundation in his name”, stated Michael Rielly, James D. Rielly Foundation President. “Our mission is to preserve his legacy by providing charitable support to the children and the families of military and first responders hindered by economic status, physical or mental challenges.”

The IRS letter granting James D. Rielly Foundation its 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status is available upon request. For donation inquiries, please contact info(at)jdrfoundation(dot)org or visit www.jdrfoundation.org.

About James D. Rielly Foundation, Inc.
The James D. Rielly Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, organized exclusively for charitable, religious, fraternal organizations, and educational purposes, including, the distribution of funds primarily to organizations that qualify as exempt organizations under 501(c)(3). The James D. Rielly Foundation believes in giving back to the community both locally and nationally. We believe helping those in need will inspire others to do the same and in turn, improve the quality of life for all. To learn more, visit: www.jdrfoundation.org. Follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn.