You smell like beef and cheese: Subbing for Santa

Mark holding some of the boxes Darren donated

Meet Mark Moreno. He and his wife are service missionaries for a congregation of Latin members of the LDS church. Most of the people he works with couldn’t afford to have Christmas this year. In his estimate, only about three families in the entire congregation were okay financially. Many, although struggling themselves, were also helping those less monetarily fortunate in the congregation. Mark saw the need and sprung into action.

Mark organized a large-scale Sub for Santa project that involved participants from all over pitching in to help these families. I was grateful to get in on a little piece of the action.

When presented with different options, I chose the Martinez family. The Grandfather and Grandmother were taking care of their two young grandsons, who had such simple requests. While most boys their age ask Santa for XBOX, Playstation, and Wii games, the two boys in this family asked only for a sweater and a toy each.

The family was also joined by three other girls who came to live with their grandparents right before the holidays. I can’t imagine what it would be like to have the responsibility to provide for five young kids who are away from their parents at Christmastime.

Devin modeling her gift-wrapped jammies and beanie babies for the girls

Secily got a huge assortment of awesome toys for the boys

Claudine donated a new winter coat for the grandma

I was so grateful that so many of my friends offered to help the Martinez family when they learned about the Sub for Santa project. Right away, I had a few checks arrive in the mail and friends who shopped for specific items. Because of the efforts of friends like Melanie, Claudine, Secily, Heidi, Alisa, Devin, Jessi, and Darren, we were able to do a lot. Mark Moreno also delivered several items that he’d collected from donations.

When Dave helped me deliver Christmas, we had several boxes full of clothes, shoes, coats, toys, and food for the family. They didn’t speak much English, but they hugged us and expressed gratitude. One of the little girls came into the room, and her eyes grew large and shiny as we placed the presents under the tree.

Dave loading his red sleigh with presents

I just wanted to express gratitude to everyone who pitched in to help in whatever capacity they were able to help. I loved seeing so many of my friends and family subbing for Santa, doing angel trees, feeding the homeless, and reaching out to give a little of themselves this season. I learn from the examples of people like Mark, who are proactive in identifying and addressing needs around them. As these needs persist throughout the year, I hope there will be many more opportunities like this to come.

Merry Christmas, and thanks again!


One thought on “You smell like beef and cheese: Subbing for Santa

  1. Sarah says:

    I’m so glad your sub for Santa went well. I wish I could have helped, but we were out of work for awhile and money was super tight. I organized a sub for Santa when I was in a single’s ward up in Ogden. It was so much work, but so rewarding. I’m glad you had the opportunity to participate in this one.

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