The Loris Santa, Johnny Lee, has had a busy season from Thanksgiving Day until Sunday, Dec. 22. He visited with many children telling him their wishes for toys to be delivered to their home on Christmas Eve.
Age does not matter. With his big generous heart he listens to anyone who is able to speak, gives a kind word or a prayer and wishes everyone a Merry Christmas. Picture opportunities and smiles are his reward for sitting in the cold and rainy weather waving to passersby; some shout out his name and wish him a Merry Christmas. Lee chuckles and invites everyone to come visit him.
Santa collected 1,800 toys for Toys for Tots and $400 in cash. He says, “I appreciate everyone who contributed to the children this year. I do this for the kids and appreciate all the donations.” He had a cruise-in show on Saturday, Dec. 7, on Main Street with muscle cars and antiques to draw in a crowd to help with his collection of toys.
Santa visited two schools this year taking fidget spinners and a toy to each boy and girl. Green Sea Floyds and Loris Elementary school children were excited to see Santa visit them at the school. Santa also enjoys spending time with the children; he encourages them to listen to their parents and to follow the rules at school, reminding them to always be good.
The last day of school on Friday, Dec. 20, Lee wore his Santa suit as he drove the bus filled with children delivering each child safely home. With a “Ho Ho Ho and Merry Christmas”, Lee knows his purpose in life is to make children happy.
Lee spends the year working for Toys for Tots collecting toys and money to donate to families who do not have the funds to place toys from Santa under the tree. He does not charge a fee for his Santa persona. He feels the joy of spreading cheer and happiness to children in the Loris area is important and feels he is guided by the Lord to continue on his journey as the Loris Santa.
Look for Santa next year to be at the Santa House on the corner of Main Street and Broad Street ready and waiting to visit with the little children.