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Like a Hallmark Movie

What would you do if Mrs. Claus called?

You know the plot of every Hallmark Channel movie:  busy city lady finds herself back in her (adorable) hometown despite her best laid plans. With the help of a local lumberjack/bookstore owner/newspaper reporter, she falls in love with hometown and sees her town, and him, with fresh eyes. Often, the magic of the holiday season and sometimes Santa himself plays a part, as they live happily ever after.

Fiction, right? But we found ourselves in a seemingly made-for-TV moment when Mrs. Claus (not her real name) reached out to us with an offer of Santa.

It seems her husband had played the role of Santa in the past for children connected to Unity House through our Domestic Violence Services program. The program serves many children, both through residential and non-residential services. As you can imagine, the holiday season can compound challenges that these families are facing, so a bit of magic via a visit from Santa would be welcome.

Somehow the Claus couple and staff from our domestic violence services program failed to connect this year to plan a visit. It might have been due to a computer glitch we experienced in November, or maybe it was part of the Hallmark plot. In any case, the thought of the holiday season without a visit from Santa… not a good thing.  Mrs. Claus reached out to Unity House’s community resource center and offered the services of her husband, who ‘just likes to make people happy’ and learned his Santa skills from his father, the senior Mr. Claus.

If someone calls you to be Santa, you should proceed with great caution.

We had lots of questions, and not just because all our volunteers are vetted and this is especially necessary when children are served in a program. Turns out, our man in the big red suit was familiar to many of our staff and they were thrilled to be reunited. Santa Claus passed his background check and all was right in the land.

No, hometown heroes didn’t fall in love or move back to their economically stagnant hometown. But people connected. A genuine Santa Claus (real facial hair!) and his persistent wife found a way to give back to people who could really use some holiday cheer. This is just one of the examples of gracious giving we have been able to witness this holiday season.

In whatever way you have helped make a difference this year, thank you. We appreciate the many hands and helpers who pitch in to make life better, often for people who are struggling and hurting. That you do so graciously and while honoring the dignity of everyone who comes to our doors, we are grateful.

For going the extra mile to make sure they connect with our kids, a special thanks to Mary and Rob, but we can’t call them that. Because, just like in a Hallmark movie, they will forever be known to us as the real Santa and Mrs. Claus.