Harbor Crab's Kris Kringle Keeps the Christmas Miracle Alive

15 Years and Counting

Article by Michele Cayea

Photography by Danielle Golden Giglio

Originally published in Patchogue Lifestyle

This will be the 15th year of the Harbor Crab’s Kris Kringle! 

It’s amazing to think that something that started around a kitchen table at Frank Mills kitchen in Bluepoint has morphed itself into a $100,000-a-year life-saving event for as many as 12 families per season. Can you imagine that?

“This will be our 15th year, and we hope as always for it to be the best," says Mark Miller, owner of the Harbor Crab. "Frank and his family started this in their kitchen, and when we bought the Harbor Crab, it was a natural segue to not only keep it alive but you keep it growing so we could help more people every year.” 

The Kris Kringle Fund serves to offer hope through financial support to our fellow community families who were on the right path in life but often through circumstances beyond their control, have experienced hardship and have found themselves off course. The goal is to identify the specific needs for each individual family to upright their sails and offer them an opportunity to maneuver forward in their life’s journey with renewed hope.

Each year, the Kris Kringle team reaches out to the social support staff of local churches and schools for assistance to identify and vet families whose current circumstance parallels the criteria as described within the Kris Kringle mission statement.

The Kris Kringle team organizes numerous community events throughout the year to raise monies for the families in need.

The extended family of regulars and employees at the Harbor Crab spend months fundraising in various ways including golf tournaments, bingo nights, raffle tickets, private donations and even a dodgeball game organized by Mark’s kids. Along with the fundraising events, a small committee helps to select and identify a local family who has in some capacity fallen upon hard times and been knocked off the path, as Mark would say.

“The purpose of the Kris Kringle is to find these amazing families and give them a boost to get back on the path that they were intended for before whatever hardship it is that they are facing knocked them off the path,” says Frank Mills, co-owner of the Harbor crab. “Nine out of 10 times, a family just needs a financial boost, and they are able to right the ship for the rest of their lives, and many even come and give back the following year.”  

The event always happens the second Wednesday of December, so this year on Dec. 11 from 6–8 p.m., hundreds of people will gather with their donations in hand for some food and drinks before getting on three double-decker buses loaded with gifts for children and head off to sing some holiday songs with a sizable check in tow. This is all a surprise to the unsuspecting family who gets an uninvited knock at the door by 300 people singing off-key!

“The real recipient of the Kris Kringle is the people who do the giving," says Steve Tobin, a committee member. “I have been shoulder-to-shoulder with Mark for 15 years at the Harbor Crab, and it never fails to not only bring the spirit of giving and love to a holiday season, but it also restores my faith in mankind and teaches hundreds of children the power of love and the power of giving."

This year, the Patchogue Young Professionals are hosting a Polar Plunge on Saturday, Dec. 7, at 10 a.m. at the Sandspit Park Beach and Marina to help raise funds, There is a $30 minimum registration donation to take part. The plunge will be followed by a "defrost" party at the Patchogue Beer Project starting at noon that day.

If you’d like to help with either a basket donation, an idea for a fundraiser, a financial donation or otherwise, please email Mark at the Harbor Crab restaurant in Patchogue at MEM403@AOL.com or call 687.CRAB. The Harbor Crab: where the season for giving never ends!

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