“Santa” Shares His Gift for Making People Happy
How many children, when they meet a department-store Santa, are tempted to pull on his beard and see if it’s real? At St. Matthew’s House, our Santa’s whiskers are the real deal!
“I’ve had a beard for 30-some years,” says Sam Nolder, who volunteers as Santa for children at the mission. “I start growing it out in July. If kids ask to tug on it, I say, ‘Yes, but you have to pull easy. If you don’t, you’ll be on my naughty list!’”
Actually, Sam (or should we say Santa?) doesn’t seem to have a naughty list. He makes sure all of the boys and girls at St. Matthew’s House get gifts and some personal attention at our Christmas party. He also makes sure they understand the difference between Santa Claus and Jesus Christ.
“I had a little guy ask me if I would heal his sister,” Sam recalls. “I said, ‘Son, Santa doesn’t heal.’ He said, ‘I thought Santa could do anything.’ I told him only Jesus can do anything, but that Santa will pray for your sister. Jesus is the only one who can heal.”
Sam and his wife have been friends of St. Matthew’s House almost since its inception. Retired now, Sam is a former truck driver with many years of experience in the moving business. For several years, he shared his expertise by teaching St. Matthew’s House drivers how to move furniture professionally.
However, Sam’s calling today is being Santa to the St. Matthew’s House children—and entertaining their parents. “It’s a gift from the Lord to make people happy,” he says.