Many people have asked how "Friends of Santa" got started 24 years ago. Sonna and I one Sunday morning were having our coffee and reading the newspaper. An insert called the Parade Magazine front page was a picture of Santa Claus titled Elf Louise. http://www.elflouise.com/philosophy.php She was a college student in San Antonio, Texas. With no family to spend Christmas with away at school she decide to dress as Santa stand on a street corner ring a bell and people dropped money into her bucket. Next she contacted some grade schools and churches to see if there were children that would not be able to have a Christmas that year. That first year she delivered toys to 13 kids dressed as Santa she went to there house gave each child 2 gifts apiece one to unwrap while she was there and one to put under the tree if they had one. As I read this story out loud to Sonna I cried. I did not grow up rich but I wasn't poor either we always had gifts at Christmas. That first year Sonna contacted the schools and churches in Unit 7 and we found 43 children that needed a visit from Santa Claus. Sonna called each family to see what thier children wanted for Christmas and then went out and bought the gifts wrapped them, bagged them up. I was given the easier job of finding people to donate money. Each year the number of children range from 120-165.What started out as a handful of people became a whole community of people making sure that our kids in Unit 7 enjoy the spirit of giving during the Christmas holidays.
The story I always tell about "Friends of Santa" is that Christmas Eve morning we had a donated motor home loaded full of bags of gifts for all of our families. We started delivering about 9:30 am and would only take a break for lunch and reload the motor home with gifts. It was dark by the time we were finished our deliveries. As I enter our house I began to take off my beard and hair and I walk past our answering machine the light was flashing. I listened to the message and it was from a Dad who said I am sorry we were not home today when you stopped by but my 2 kids have been looking out of our front window all day hoping you were still coming. Beard and hair went back on we all got back in the motor home and drove over to the 2 kids house. When we were about a block from there house I could see the front porch light turning on an off the kids were still watching for us. As we entered the house there was no sign of Christmas. I sat down and put the 8 year old girl on my lap and gave her, her gifts she was very happy. Next I put the 5 year old boy on my lap and and he looked up at me and said "Santa I only want 2 things a ninja turtle and a pair of walkie talkies". I looked over at Sonna and she shook her head no but then Sonna snuck out of the front door and went to our motor home where she had a box of extra gifts. She looked through the box and did not find the ninja turtle or walkie talkies. Sonna then remembered the telephone call we got that morning from a single Mom right before we began our deliveries. She said that she had just gotten off the phone with her parents who lived in Florida and that they were leaving that morning and driving straight through the night and would be there on Christmas to bring there grandchildren Christmas presents so she thanked us and said please don't come to our house we are all right. So Sonna looked in her bag of gifts and found one ninja turtle and one walkie talkie. when Sonna entered the house her eyes were lit up happy. I put the boy back on my lap gave him his gifts and he was exstatic. The Dad started to hug me and cry and said "
God Bless you this is the Best Christmas we could ask for.
By participating in the Cash Bash, shopping for the kids, giving donations payable to Friends of Santa you can help us make sure kids in Unit 7 enjoy a Merry Christmas. For more information call Tom or Sonna Cain at 217-485-4440.