GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Kenneth Isaacson, better known as Kid Santa, started collecting donations and delivering gifts to children in need when he was just a teenager.
After moving to Detroit as an orphan, Kenneth spent his teenage years in foster care. There he developed a desire to help as many children as possible experience the joy of opening a present from Santa.
Isaacson spends most days as an EMT in Kalamazoo. But on Christmas Eve, he and a small team make sure kids in need feel special come Christmas morning.
"I didn't have the best childhood and it's a little bit too late to fix my childhood experiences and go back," Isaacson said. "So the next best thing that I can do for other kids is to make a change, give them something that I myself didn't have. And in a way I feel like it's a therapy for me. And you know, I'm getting back what I myself lost."
The initiative is in its fourth year, so this Christmas he's making an impact closer to home. Kid Santa delivered dozens of gifts to children across West Michigan Friday night. And to make sure the magic stays alive for all the kids, he has a special way of getting the gifts under the tree.
"We'll notify the parents that we're five to 10 minutes inbound, then as soon as I get to the house, we'll get out of the truck, find the box, get directly to the porch quickly and quietly," Isaacson explains. "They think it's Santa who's flying around with the reindeer and the elves and the sleigh and stuff like that. And then we leave just as quickly as we showed up."
Isaacson is helping more than 30 families across Michigan, with a lot of ground to cover before the sun rises on Christmas morning.
"I have 33 families, their Christmas trees are empty right now and I have till first light the first signs of sunrise to drive over 500 miles across the state and about 12 hours and get all these kids Christmas which is exactly what they want to the right place in the right time and do it without being detected by these kids who are asleep right now.
Kid Santa takes nominations for families in need all year round. For more information about the project or to learn more, you can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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