The Spirit of Santa Claus

During a difficult recovery from a car accident, just as Kimberly Moore was feeling most alone, she looked out her window and wondered how many people across the United States were silently crying out for help with nobody around to hear them.

She realized her own neighbors didn’t even know the hardship she faced. Nobody was calling. Nobody was checking in. So many people must be out there alone hurting, as she was.

She held one thought: “If I can help somebody else, then I will be healed,” and she grew determined to find a way to reach these people in need, particularly those living in her own community.

That was ten years ago. A lot has happened since.

Looking back, Kimberly has accomplished many charitable feats and earned many honors. She has been bestowed as Goodwill Ambassador by President Malam Bacai Sanha of the Republic of Guinea Bissau, West Africa. She has promoted world peace alongside the Dalai Llama during the Music 4 Peace/World Gandhi Tour, and the plan is for her to work with the First Lady on fighting social problems in this nation.

But perhaps her leading role, and what first sent her down her life’s path, is a title she earned without ever really seeking it—Ms. Santa Claus of the United States.

But it didn’t come without love. And it didn’t come without enthusiasm: two principles that spoke out from within her during her accident. Kimberly describes this moment as her “second chance,” between the time she was struck by a drunk driver, and seconds later, when she hit against the wall and fell unconscious.

“I went someplace, and I got to ask every question,” she said. “I was questioning, but the answers were coming from within.” To Kimberly, this affirmed that we take our conscious with us, and that the answers to all of our questions and problems come from within ourselves. “There is always a solution,” she said.

During this moment, time froze, and she understood she was dead; she had to come to a place of acceptance. She was fully aware and able to review her life at her own pace, asking all of her questions, including the deeper ones, such as what is the purpose of life.

She said, “It’s really about the legacy that we do live. Every message I had was about love: Were you there for the people who needed you most? When people reached out to you, did you help them?”

“At that moment is when I realized we are all here for one purpose and that is to contribute and give back. It’s to add value, and that is it. And that is how we evolve as a human spirit.”

She also received the answer, “you have to be enthusiastic.” This was the motor and the energy that helped propel the giving spirit, and what offered inspiration to others.

Even with these revelations, when Kimberly came back, she had a broken body. She had to endure and work through a painful recovery. It wasn’t easy. But something had changed forever within her. And something special was about to begin.

The Becoming of Ms. Santa Claus

While trying to recover and get back on her feet, Kimberly received an email from a friend with a touching story about kids writing letters to Santa Claus. The story inspired Kimberly to call the post office and ask where these types of letters were sent. The reply: to the shredding facility, where they said they received 4,000 letters a day.

Kimberly went there and read through some letters.

There was a letter that began: “Dear Santa Claus, can you please bring us some food, we’re hungry.” “That is the letter that literally changed my life.”

Next, there was Paula, a nine year-old girl, who wrote: “Dear Santa Claus, I don’t want to live anymore.” Paula was being bullied and made fun of at school for having holes in her clothes.

There was a little boy who wrote to Santa Claus asking to help keep the lights on in his house.

These were the people in her own community crying out for help with nobody there to hear them. Kimberly asked for every letter in her own zip code.

Soon after, she went to visit some of these families to give them the items they needed most. She found some of these family’s needs were much larger. For instance, one family didn’t have any furniture and they ate and slept on the floor.

We have a lot of kids going hungry right here in our communities, Kimberly pointed out. She told a story of three kids who wrote letters because they were being bullied for gathering food from school garbage cans to take home to their families for supper.

“I ended up doing an email asking if anyone wanted to adopt a letter. People could buy a gift and drop it off at a location.” She sent the letter to a few friends in Los Angeles. This was before Facebook and social media.

The e-mail went viral. It made it as far as China, Korea, Russia, London, New York. “Literally, within two weeks I had already received three truckloads of gifts for the kids.”

On Christmas morning, Kimberly had a friend ready to help her deliver the gifts they had packed in trucks. She had decided she was going to go to 1700 homes to take presents. She didn’t know how long it would take, but she was determined.

When she walked outside, she was greeted by 60 to 70 people waiting for her. She was shocked when she learned they were there to see her. Many were film crews from local media wanting to tell her story. Even the LAPD was inspired by her helping the community. They provided her with two police escorts to send her out on her mission.

It took two months. She went door-to-door for almost 14 hours a day. The police escorts followed. She would just knock and say, “My name is Kimberly and I work for Santa Claus.”

The Spirit of Santa Claus

By the following year, Kimberly and her Adopt a Letter program had answered the calls of children from 14,000 homes across Los Angeles and neighboring areas.

“The program has grown. Since then, I think my life changed. And also the kids, they change your heart. When you are helping people like this, you can’t help but to change as a person. All of a sudden you live life different, your perspective changes.”

This year marks her eighth Christmas working with the program.

She admits, it’s not about the Santa Claus letter really. She says this is just a tool. Giving the gift of hope is what is truly important. Experiencing hope is what helped these children feel significant and valued and this is what changed their hearts.

These children no longer feel alone. Because their calls were heard. And they were answered by someone who works for Santa Claus.