Multiple Sightings of Santa in St. Mary’s
About this time every year for over fifty years, there have been numerous reports of Santas being seen around St. Mary’s County. From Mechanicsville in the North, to Ridge in the South, twenty to thirty of these supposedly real Santa Clauses have been spotted delivering Christmas presents to some of our County’s most needy children. They really don’t look like Santa, well maybe some do, but they all have the same spirit of giving that Santa does. These men and women, members of the Leonardtown Lions Club, have focus – their mission is to make sure no needy child in our county spends a Christmas without presents. In many, if not all cases these presents are the only ones the children will receive. It all started long ago, but got into full swing when a Lion’s Lion, King Lion Dick Russell, came up with the current plan, called the “Christmas Caring Program” and it has been on-going ever since. Thanks in large part to Dick’s daughter, Lion Carolyn, who together with Lion Mike Filby picked up the torch and have run with it.
Here’s how it works: first, the County’s Social Services determines those families that qualify and gathers detailed information about each child. This information is then proportionately divided and provided to the Leonardtown Lions Club and to the St. Mary’s Ryken’s High School. On the Lion’s part, the information is put on individual tags, which contain the age, gender and gifts requested. The tags are placed on a special Christmas tree in the Leonardtown True Value store. Leonardtown Lions select one or more of these tags, but several are left on the tree for the general public, so that they too can participate in this worthwhile program of giving. (Once gifts have been purchased and wrapped, they should be returned by December 14 with the tag to True Value for later pickup by the Lions Club.) When all gifts are ready, Lions will collect the gifts from St. Mary’s Ryken and bundle them together with those from True Value and deliver them to the designated families before Christmas.
If you would like to experience the wonderful and powerful feeling of giving gifts to the needy, then this program is made-to-order for you. Just visit the True Value store in Leonardtown, select a tag from the Christmas tree and you’re on your way to a great Christmas by making some child very happy!