Thursday, December 17, 2009
Sorry it's been a few days since I posted. I have been spending a lot of time this week volunteering as Santa Claus for the local children's house and our local chapters of the Ronald McDonald Houses. I've played Santa for the company for the past few years, and though last year I worked one day at the Ronald House, this is the first year they have asked me to do all three days for the organization. Basically I have worked my 9 hour shift, then gone straight to the House to get ready and play Santa for a few hours.
For those of you who may be unaware of what the Ronald McDonald House does, it provides a place to stay for families of children who need long or short term medical care at a hospital but don't live near one where there are appropriate facilities. Commuting to hospitals, especially on a daily level, or living in a hotel can be costly, sometimes more expensive than more families can afford. The Ronald House provides a room (similar to a hotel) for little to no cost to the family. They also have a community kitchen and dining area as well as laundry area for all the families to share. Part of the Santa's Workshop experience here is to provide the children both in the hospital as well as in the House a small semblance of a regular Christmas experience in a place where they wouldn't normally get one.
We gave away presents to the entire family, even the Mom's and Dad's, which we wrapped and took to their rooms. I went to the rooms of some of the sicklier children and gave them their present personally. I had a little area set up where the kids could come and see me and give me their Christmas lists and pose for a picture. The last night we even had Ronald McDonald there too. The organizers of the event where just fantastic and even though it was a long and tiring day, the look of joy on each child's face and their smiles made it all worth while. I have a little more volunteer work this afternoon, then I should be caught up. I've put a few pics of me as Santa up top, hope you enjoy them. These are just teh ones from my personal camera, most of the pics of the really sick kids were taken by even staff on hand.
I will say this, one young boy was facing surgery on Wednesday and on Tuesday he came to see me. His attitude and positive energy was so inspirational to me. He wasn't scared or worried, it was very matter of fact for him. Though he did tell me a joke that made me laugh. What do you call someone who is afraid of Santa? Claustrophobic. I thought it was such a smart and funny joke from someone so young. It was really awesome to be able to bring a small measure of comfort to his day. That's what Christmas is about. See you all soon with a new post.
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