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A Wall Streeter who brings Christmas to needy kids

Receiving recognition for their help with the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club were, from left, Rebecca and Alfred Zaccagnino, founding partner of Samarian Group, and Steven and Maureen Van Zandt. Also in photo at right is Dan Quintero, the club's executive director.
Jeff Cox | CNBC
Receiving recognition for their help with the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club were, from left, Rebecca and Alfred Zaccagnino, founding partner of Samarian Group, and Steven and Maureen Van Zandt. Also in photo at right is Dan Quintero, the club's executive director.

Sometimes even Santa Claus needs a little help, especially when it comes to the kids who need it the most.

For the past eight years, Santa's had a big helper in Alfred Zaccagnino, a private equity pro and low-key yuletide benefactor, In between traipsing around the globe making deals for investors, he finds time to bring good spirit and gifts to a neighborhood that otherwise might have a pretty blue Christmas.

Each year, he helps stage a holiday show and present distribution at the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club, which has two locations in the Bronx.

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Zaccagnino, president and founder of Samarian Group, is part of a makeshift network of do-gooders, many of whom are affiliated with the New York Yankees. Samarian's business interests cover the globe, with his most recent endeavors involving the Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank.

Actor and E Street Band guitarist Steven Van Zandt, left, and wife Maureen were on hand Dec. 14 to help Santa Claus distribute toys to the children at the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club in the Bronx, New York.
Jeff Cox | CNBC
Actor and E Street Band guitarist Steven Van Zandt, left, and wife Maureen were on hand Dec. 14 to help Santa Claus distribute toys to the children at the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club in the Bronx, New York.

"As you get older it's all about giving," said the 46-year-old Zaccagnino, himself a former pro ball player whose career ended in the minors. "My greatest joy in life is putting smiles on other people's faces. Christmas is the time to give, especially to these kids in the Bronx that might not have the same kind of Christmas as kids in other towns."

His story is one of many that could be told about Wall Streeters quietly giving back to the community.

"For the last years, these kids would have not had a Christmas without him," said Ray Negron, an executive in the Yankee front office whose own story of growing up in a troubled neighborhood, then turning his life around and ending up as a high-ranking member of baseball's most storied organization, has been well-documented.

"We picked the poorest congressional district in the country," Negron said at an event last week at Kips Bay. "He makes sure every one of these kids get toys for Christmas."

They have plenty of help.

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Steven Van Zandt, the guitarist with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band and actor in shows including "The Sopranos" and "Lilyhammer," was on hand for the event at Kips Bay, which boasts famous alumni including Jennifer Lopez and Kerry Washington.

"They do really good work," said Van Zandt, joined by his wife, Maureen, who also appeared in "The Sopranos." "We had no idea what to expect. This is really great to see."

The group's work goes on year-round. Zaccagnino was one of a group of givers honored over the summer for "Hank's Yanks," a youth baseball program overseen by Yankee owner Hank Steinbrenner.