Secret Santa, left, hands $600 to Teresa Moreno, 81, right, who takes care of her daughter and her two grandchildren in Phoenix, Thursday, December 15, 2011. One of Moreno's grandchildren has Down's Syndrome. PHOTO BY: Tom Tingle/The Arizona Republic
Andre Wannamaker, who is homeless, breaks down after getting a $100 bill after Secret Santas drove up to him on 12th Street. Diedra Laird - email@example.com
Alexander West of Harvest House breaks down after getting a $100 bill from the Secret Santas. Diedra Laird - firstname.lastname@example.org
Secret Santa bestowed the rank of ELF on Kansas City Mayor Sly James on Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2011, after James helped Santa give away money at several locations in the city. 12132011 KEITH MYERS/The Kansas City Star
The Canadian $100 dollar bill may look different, but it has the same affect in Canada as it does in the United States, as our Canadian Secret Santa from Guelph and those whom he has helped can attest.
Anybody can be a Secret Santa and these young ELFs proved it!
Before embarking on their first Sleigh Ride, these young ELFs from Blue Springs South High School posed in front of Tim's Pizza in Independence, MO. They packaged a slice of pizza, a bottle of water and $10 and spent the day giving them out to homeless in the city. They called their Sleigh Ride "a life-changing experience."
Long-time ELF Rick Taylor organized the event, and Tim Pace, owner of Tim's Pizza, donated the pizzas.
From coast to coast, north to south, it was another remarkable Christmas season with Secret Santas and ELFs on Sleigh Rides throughout the US and Canada. Each Sleigh Ride is listed below in chronological order by date with links to media coverage if available.
November 29, 2011
The sleigh ride season began early this year in the poorest city in the country. With help from the Reading Police Department on a cold, rainy night, Secret Santa accompanied by Steve Hartman from CBS news and reporter Ron Devlin of the Reading Eagle newspaper made their rounds from row houses to bus depots, as they touched the lives of many.
LISTEN to seasoned, professional journalist Ron Devlin from the Reading Eagle tell his story.
READ the story from the Reading Eagle.
WATCH CBS National Evening News story by Steve Hartman.
December 2, 2011
For the fourth year in a row, Secret Santas and their trusting ELFs escorted by the Charlotte Police, and helped along by the Charlotte Fire Department, made their way to all the right places in and around Charlotte.
The annual Secret Santa Sleigh Ride is now a true tradition in Charlotte and anticipated every year. The Mr. and Mrs. Claus of Charlotte out-do themselves each year as they bring hope and spread their random acts of kindness to those most in need.
READ AND SEE the story from the Charlotte Observer.
December 13-15, 2011
Kansas City was the home of our dear friend and original Secret Santa Larry Stewart. It is fitting therefore that his legacy of compassion, kindness and random acts of kindness continue here in true Secret Santa fashion. There were actually several sleigh rides in and around greater Kansas City this year. With the help of the Kansas City, Missouri Police Department, Kansas City, Kansas Police Department, Jackson County Sheriff's Department and representative of the FBI, each was very successful. The following media reports will bring them all to life.
READ the story of two new Mayor ELFs in the Kansas City Star.
WATCH KMBC Bev Chapman report on the KCK and KCMO Sleigh Rides.
READ the story of the Eastern Jackson County sleigh ride from the Independence Examiner.
On the last sleigh ride, Kansa City Royals Hall of Fame second baseman learned what it is like to be an ELF.
Secret Santa relies on trusted media to help spread the message of random acts of kindness. Often seasoned professional journalists are touched by the experience. Here are editorials from two such journalists.
Bill Althaus Independence Examiner.
Tony Rizzo Kansas City Star.
December 15 & 16, 2011
It was a very busy two days for two retired FBI ELFs as they organized for the sixth year in a row, two seperate Sleigh Rides for the Phoenix Valley Secret Santas. The first, escorted by the Phoenix Police Department, and the second by the Glendale Police Department. They were accompanied again by seasoned ELF and major league baseball player, Luis Gonzalez.
The Phoenix Valley Secret Santas, among the many others they help, always seem to find military families in need. Here is a Christmas Day TV Special of this year's Sleigh Rides:
WATCH Fox TV Phoenix Secret Santa Christmas Day Special.
December 16, 2011
The St. Louis-area Secret Santa, a local businesswoman, who like every Secret Santa keeps her identity a secret, handed out $100 bills to people in need by visiting them at their homes or finding them at laundry mats or thrift stores. This very special Secret Santa on her own, with the help of firefighters and local law enforcement, has continued the St. Louis-area Secret Santa tradition now for four years in a row.
Here is a gallery of photos and stories from the St. Louis-area Sleigh Ride.
December 19, 2011
Have you ever heard Secret Santa Chipmunks? Well, you will now. Our Detroit Secret Santas known as Mr. and Mrs. Claus had their voices converted to sound like chipmunks, so not to be recognized when interviewed by the Detroit Free Press. It didn't detract from a full day of work as they covered Detroit and Lincoln Park with the help of local law enforcement. The Secret Santa tradition is now well established in Detroit, and like many US cities, it brings hope and light to many.
Watch and listen as the Detroit Free Press covers the story and does its rendition of Alvin the chipmunk. (If you listen very carefully, you will hear old Secret Santa laughing in the background, as every sleigh ride has its share of fun.)
December 21, 2011
For the third year in a row now our lone Canadian Secret Santa has established the Secret Santa tradition in Guelph, and it is now anticipated each year. Operating on his own without the help of ELFs, he steadily carries the torch of random acts of kindness and brings the Secret Santa tradition to Canada. He is an inspiration not only to those in Guelph, but to his fellow Secret Santas.
READ how the Canadian Secret Santa is making new believers.
December 20, 2011
A team of Secret Santas, with the help of a local prosecutor, a congressman and a team of law enforcement officers, converged on unsuspecting residents in Ventura County. They were not only armed with the usual $100 dollar bills, but they also brought turkeys and new bikes for those who could really use them. With the help of law enforcement, they had a target list of those most in need.
Each year, there are hundreds of stories, but to give you a sense of how far a Secret Santa will go to help someone in real need, here is an unpublished story from this sleigh ride that typifies the spirit of Secret Santa:
"One of the people we helped was a young woman who was living out of her small car. The night before a police officer pulled money out of his pocket to pay for a room for the night at a Motel 6. (It was very cold that night.) We were told about her and went to the motel and gave her over two thousand dollars and paid for her room for two weeks, to get her through the holidays, and she now can rent a place with the money. Her oldest son is in the third grade and the teacher was there checking on her while we showed up, the teacher told us she would park her car overnight at the school so her son would not miss any school. This young woman has been trying so hard to make it and she also has a two-year-old son".
WATCH as KEYT.COM reports on this amazing Sleigh Ride.
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