Santa Claus: He's everywhere

Friday, December 10, 2010
Two-year-old Samantha Dunnivant, daughter of Jason and Jeanna Dunnivant of Berlin, had a little extra face time with Santa Claus recently at Russell's restaurant where she softly told Santa what she wants for Christmas.

Santa Claus took time from his busy schedule on Saturday to help Junior's House, a safe place for abused children on Second Avenue North.

After hearing Christmas present requests, the jolly old soul spoke of the day, the event's purpose and the work he does every Dec. 25 for boys and girls around the world.

"It's cool to see the kids," he said. "Everybody's cool. Nobody's upset. There hasn't been a crazy kid here all morning."

Mrs. Claus "is real well," he continued. "She was cooking cookies when I left. I've got to keep my strength up, so she has to cook."

Meanwhile, Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer "had a cold, but he's about over it. He's going to make it. I can't go without him" because of his red nose, Santa said. "It makes him compliant with the FAA."

The Federal Aviation Administration "tracks him by that nose," said the man whose real name is Kris Kringle.

While reporting on his toy workshop and the elves, Kringle's imposter was told that the "Breakfast With Santa" fundraiser at Russell's Vending raised more than $1,100 for Junior's House in Lewisburg, a safe place for abused children that first opened in 2002 in Fayetteville.

"We're real pleased for this being the first time," Elizabeth Jackson said.

She works for First National Bank, the business that paid for breakfasts provided at no charge for children one year old and younger. Others at the breakfast contributed an amount set to be comparable to the cost of a restaurant breakfast. Michael Sullivan CPA is underwrote children's photos with Santa.

The Lewisburg Housing Authority provides a brick building at 906 Second Avenue North as the safe haven for abused children.

Junior's House is named for a boy whose father repeatedly punched his abdomen for interrupting his video game. Junior's kidneys, liver and other organs shut down.

Upon hearing that, Wesley Poteet, one of the grownups at the breakfast, offered his solution to such wrongheaded and criminal behavior. "Stake them over a fire ant hill and leave them," he said.

"One day, I was fencing and stepped on one," he said. "I thought I'd have to take my arm off to make it quit hurting."

Candi Glasscock of Lewisburg is a Department of Children's Services employee who works here and 11 other counties. She serves on the board of directors for Junior's House and reports there were approximately 1,500 reports of abuse in the 17th Judicial District during 2009, Glasscock said. Marshall, Lincoln, Bedford and Moore counties comprise District 17.

Junior's House has a budget of nearly $300,000 annually, according to Carol Foster, the non-profit organization's development director. All the money raised during Breakfast With Santa went to the organization's operational costs in Lewisburg. Junior was a resident of Lincoln County.