What We Do

How the Santa Project works with families of children with long term, life threatening or terminal illnesses.

Santa has a special request line for Tammy and Traci, the two Child Life Specialists that work with the families and hospital social workers to identify the neediest families and pediatric patients that are going through an indescribable situation. We focus on the entire family. Most of the time in these types of situations, time, attention, energy and money understandably goes towards the child with the illness and sometimes the siblings feel left out or overlooked. What the Santa Project does is identifies the needs of the family and then gets a Santa wish list from each of the children in the family. We get games the entire family can play together and each of the children and the parents get gifts and toys picked out especially for them. Santa also leaves a Christmas Stocking stuffed to the top chosen just for them.

We deliver to the house a few days before Christmas and we deliver with Santa, Mrs. Claus, a couple of actual elves and a Deputy in uniform. We have several Santa’s that speak languages other than English and have been called on to do so over the years. We sing songs and unwrap gifts with them. We allow them to take all the pictures they want with us and sometimes they allow us to post some of those pictures. We have the families open a few gifts during Santa’s visit just to give them a glimpse of what is to come on Christmas morning. While Santa is entertaining the children, Santa’s helpers along with the Deputy unload Santa’s sleigh. We leave the stuffed handmade Christmas stockings (donated by the Toy project and made by some of their elves) along with several presents for each family member living in the residence. This includes the big gift from Santa, usually bikes, helmets, Barbie Dream houses, giant Lego sets and other items requested by the kids in the family. When the kids wake up Christmas morning, they find Santa has not forgot them. Santa will even put from mom and/or dad name tags on the gifts to put under the tree before Christmas morning.

We have arranged stays, and purchased tickets for Disneyland and six flags ( some family trips have been paid for and donated by the Sheriff’s Department employees and private parties), we have delivered and installed washing machines and dryers and even a stove, we have delivered dressers, beds, televisions and countless tablets and hand- held computer games. We try to identify what type of gift cards each individual family needs during this traumatic time and put them in their Christmas stocking. We purchase gift cards to local eating establishments (McDonalds, Denny’s, Sizzler, etc..) to help with the constant back and forth to the hospital visits. Some just need to grab a coffee or something to drink such as Starbucks, Jambe Juice or Dutch Brothers while waiting on the treatment for the child to finish

We deliver boxes of food, grocery gift cards, gas gift cards and cards to department stores. We are only able to do all these things because perfect strangers like yourselves, businesses, companies and personal friends of ours donate, money, toys, gifts cards and time to the Santa Project every year. Nobody associated with the Sheriff Santa Project receives compensation for what they do, everyone is a volunteer in the true sense of the word and volunteer their time graciously. We get as much pleasure and satisfaction doing this as the families get who receive these blessings.

Merry Christmas and God Bless from Santa Mike, family and friends.

Santa Saves the Day

So, the other morning I was having coffee with Mrs. Claus when we heard a knock-on the door. I wasn’t surprised when I opened the door and there he was in all his pink glory the Easter Bunny or “Bugs” as I call him. He usually stops by this time of year just to say, “hello” or to ask for a favor. Who does the Easter Bunny call when he needs a helping hand? That’s right Santa Claus! This year the Easter Bunny noticed that the cabinets at the WEAVE shelter were a little empty so he decided to ask me if the Santa Project could help him out. He told me that he could take care of the Easter Baskets, candy and other stuff for the kids but didn’t have enough time to grocery shop or collect food items to deliver to them. I told Bugs that we would be happy to take care of it. I contacted Mrs. Paula at WEAVE and told her Bugs had contacted us and asked if we could help. Paula was very happy to hear we were willing to help and gave me a list of a few items they could use. We only had a couple of days to collect and deliver the food items.

I contacted Pastor Dean of Real-Life Church in Natomas. I told him I only had a few days to gather what we needed, and he said he would put the word out to his team of leaders. A couple days later I picked up the food from the church and along with other items purchased by the Santa Project we were able to provide the WEAVE shelter with the food items they needed. I loaded up the sleigh and off I went to the WEAVE shelter (incognito of course) We were able to provide the Shelter with 3 hams, 2 turkeys, 4 chickens, 4 cases of vegetables, 6 large boxes of instant Mashed potatoes and lots of gravy. We also provided them with a dozen boxes of cake mix and several boxes of fruit snacks.

Don’t worry, Santa has his elves everywhere and even though it isn’t the Christmas season he still watches and tends to those in need.

Angel

Angel was eight years old and what she wanted for Christmas for her mother to get a new shirt, her dad to get some jeans and a shirt for work, a vacuum, a set of knife and forks and some dishes. Angel asked for nothing for herself. Tammy and Tracey (child life specialists at Kaiser hospital) tried but she only wanted them to have the things they needed, nothing frivolous, and nothing extravagant. So, over the next couple of weeks Tammy and Tracy just conversed with her about some of the things that her and her siblings would want for themselves from Santa. Eventually we found out the three kids (Angel and her two siblings) had no toys and only a couple of games that had missing pieces.

We decided all three kids would be getting bikes with helmets and lock, plenty of board games and toys that they specifically asked for on a list they wrote out to Santa. I had trouble speaking to the parents because they only spoke in broken English but I had an ace in the hole, Santa always has helpers that speak multiple languages and Santa himself has been known to know a few languages.

The day came when Santa was to visit the family in their home. Santa, Mrs. Claus, a deputy, myself and a couple of elves entered the residence. We found a very small house with no Christmas decorations, very few utensils and not much in the way of furniture. The biggest surprise for the family and especially the parents was that Santa spoke their language perfectly and seeing the surprise and happiness of that family when Santa spoke to all of them in their native tongue was beyond description. The first thing we did was bring in a Christmas tree and decorations for the family and explained to them that they had to put the tree up and all the decorations on it before Santa could deliver the gifts on Christmas morning. Santa started handing out gifts for the kids and telling them stories of Rudolf and his buddies. While Santa, Mrs. Claus and one elf were busy with the kids another elf (a bilingual Deputy) and I spoke to the parents and explained in their language that even though the kids are opening a couple of gifts today we had stuff directly from the north pole that was to be placed in hiding until Christmas morning. We gave them the bikes and helmets for each of the kids as well as several other gifts, we told the parents even they could not peek into the boxes of gifts until Christmas morning when they would help Santa by putting everything out under and around the Christmas tree for him. We also left Christmas stockings for each of the family members.  The parents and the kids continued to repeat a phrase repeatedly and when I asked Santa what they were saying he simply replied, “they could not believe Santa spoke Spanish”.

According to Tammy and Tracy the family was overwhelmed with the generosity they showed and could not stop talking about how Santa spoke Spanish.

Weird Gifts

Santa has received some weird requests for gifts on some of the lists and each time reluctantly Santa delivers them and to his surprise it is exactly what they wanted. That sounds weird right! Well let me explain, when I see a new vacuum for a 5-year-old or a gift card for Nordstrom’s for an 8-year-old boy or a craftsman tool set for 4-year-old twins then I Santa knows to ask a few additional questions and usually find out that someone a little older added that to the children’s list.

But kids request the “darndest things”. Last year the Santa Project visited one of the families from Kaiser and the 7-year-old girl (we will call her Shay) asked for the normal things, a bike, barbie doll house with Barbies etc. but she also wanted a microscope, wait a microscope, she’s only 7. Her 6-year-old brother (we will call him Dave) of course wanted a horse, super heroes, lots of Legos and a telescope, no, really a telescope! Now Santa was skeptical, so Santa picked up his phone and called the parents and the mom adamantly stated that is what they wanted, a telescope and a microscope. Normally I would leave them for under the tree, but curiosity got the better of me. During the Santa visit we let each member of the family open two or three gifts each. The rest of the gifts along with the Christmas stockings and the large Santa gift are left with the parents or relatives to be put out on Christmas Eve/morning.  On this delivery Santa decided the kids would open the telescope and the Microscope at the same time during the visit.

Santa arrives, and the kids are out of their minds excited to the point that I am laughing just watching them both telling Santa what they want at the same time, you see on home deliveries I get to be a big Elf for Santa, so I get to sit back and watch the magic happen. Dave opens an action hero and a Lego set and looks happy, but his enthusiasm seems to have dissipated as did Shay’s when she opened her barbie and a tea set. Don’t get me wrong they liked the first gifts but there was a little bit of exuberance missing that was there when we arrived. Mom and dad opened their gifts and were very thankful that we even thought about them. The kids were happy, and grandma and dad and mom were happy also. Just before we were going to take pictures Santa realized he had two gifts left in his bag and pulled them out. Both kids knew exactly what the gifts were and before they even opened them Shay looked at her mom and said “I knew Santa was real and he knows what we want”. With that they opened the telescope and the microscope and Shay explained that when she got older, she wanted to go to school and become a scientist, and Dave, well he just smiled the biggest smile I personally have ever seen.  Hugs and photos and off we went on our merry way.

Jonathan

Last minute shopping for Santa. Conor’s family, bunkbeds check, dresser check, gardening book for dad and glitter otter box phone cover for mom, no problem!

Unicorn Girl

Last minute shopping for Santa. Conor’s family, bunkbeds check, dresser check, gardening book for dad and glitter otter box phone cover for mom, no problem!

CONOR’S FAMILY

Last minute shopping for Santa. Conor’s family, bunkbeds check, dresser check, gardening book for dad and glitter otter box phone cover for mom, no problem!