Santa Visits Fire Evacuation Shelter

Santa Claus

Though times may be dark for many families in California right now, one shelter was able to find a bit of joy this holiday season.

People Magazine reports on the touching moment December 5 when Santa Claus himself showed up to meet the kids Ventura County Fairgrounds' fire evacuation shelter. Having left their homes due to the Thomas Fire sweeping across southern California, this was sure to brighten the lives of the families stuck there this Christmas.

Santa, using the name Greg Lindfors, said he'd heard of the families seeking shelter at the fairgrounds due to the wildfire. Wanting to help in any way he could, he put on the traditional red suit and headed down to the shelter. “I figured hugs are about the best I could do right now."

Santa needed the assistance of Laura Reagan, a mall worker who sets up the annual pictures with Claus, to set up his appearance. According to her, it was all his idea. With her help, he was able to meet with the children staying at the shelter, hugging them and asking them what they wanted for Christmas.

The Thomas Fire is only one of several wildfires sweeping the western half of the country, with this one in particular already consuming nearly 65,000 acres all by itself since it was first lit in Santa Paula. The flames have gotten bad enough that Interstate 405 has officially been shut down, with Governor Jerry Brown declaring Los Angeles County to be in a state of emergency. At this moment, no one can be sure when the fires will be under control.

In the spirit of the season, many people have set up YouCaring fundraiser campaigns to aid the families affected by the fires. Many have already donated money, with others sending supplies like blankets or food through different relief organizations.