Santas needed nationwide to visit medically fragile, homebound kids

Santas needed nationwide to visit medically fragile, homebound kids

Santas needed nationwide to visit medically fragile, homebound kids

An organization that brings Santa to homebound kids is in need of more jolly St. Nicks to spread Christmas cheer around the nation this year.

The Secret Sleigh project, started by Sarah Portillo and covered by ABC News last year, brings surprise Santa visits to medically fragile and homebound kids. Since last year, demand has nearly tripled, and as a result, there’s a serious Santa shortage.

“We have 148 new children [in addition to the dozens visited last year] to visit in various cities throughout the U.S, including requests from Costa Rica and Africa,” Portillo told ABC News of this year’s efforts. “We’ve had 85 Santas apply this year, but we need more.”

The Secret Sleigh project has already begun this year’s visits, with the first one taking place earlier this month.

Portillo said the Santas are desperately needed in order to provide the magic of Christmas to a child who would not otherwise experience it. For some, this may be their only chance at ever meeting Santa.

“Many of our families’ children are on hospice this year, so we are prepared to visit with them and provide a day they wouldn’t otherwise have,” she said.

“We have also had a family who reached out to us for a Santa visit one day and three days later write to us to say that the child had passed away,” Portillo said. “Though it was not my child, it pushed me into sobs. I cannot imagine losing my child when planning a beautiful Christmas with a first-time Santa visit. It means so much to many of these families to have a chance at their child meeting Santa.”

The organization needs St. Nicks in parts of Arizona, Indiana, Ohio, Texas, Colorado, Tennessee, New Hampshire, Missouri, Kansas, Massachusetts, Louisiana, and Wisconsin.

Interested parties should email secretsleigh@gmail.com for a short application.

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