This year is the first that Scott Sanchez is spending with his daughter, Isabella, 3. After a brief stint in prison, he took custody of his daughter. The state Department of Human Services helped connect them to the mission and the Bridge to Life program five months ago.
The single dad said he's trying to make it special even if he doesn't have much money. Sanchez's family and a friend from church are giving him gifts for Isabella this year.
“She gets to celebrate the joy of Christmas and gets the real understanding of joy and fellowship,” Sanchez said. “This is a really special time for me.”
J.D. and Gloria Simpson have been playing the roles of Santa and Mrs. Claus at the shelter since 1984.
They visit schools and other community locations throughout the city, too.
But the shelter stop has a special place in their hearts, Gloria Simpson said.
Most children ask for little, if anything. One girl this year asked Santa to reunite her parents and make them happy.
“These children here seem like they're more loving,” she said.
“They get excited. I think they appreciate seeing Santa.”