In 2006, local entrepreneur Dan Kemmis decided to share his many talents (and natural Santa good looks) by becoming The Seattle Santa and starting the Christmas Eve Walk for the Homeless. In partnership with friend and fellow homeless advocate Allena Gabosch, The Seattle Santa’s annual Walk for the Homeless was a way to bring a little holiday cheer and a much-needed reprieve to Seattle’s homeless population. Every December 24 since then, Gabosch and The Seattle Santa, along with a merry band of volunteers, have headed downtown to share good tidings and gift bags with hundreds of the city’s most vulnerable residents.
Ten years later, what started as a small, self-funded charitable activity has grown into a vital holiday mission serving Seattle’s ever-growing homeless community. This year, Kemmis and Gabosch have launched a GoFundMe page to attract donations to help fill more gift bags, and The Seattle Santa will have a holiday home in Ballard throughout the season to raise awareness and accept donations.
“We handed out nearly 400 gift bags last Christmas Eve, but it wasn’t nearly enough to meet demand,” says Kemmis. “Allena and I are hoping to more than double that number this season, yet sadly, it may still not be enough.”
As part of his efforts to generate interest and support for the Christmas Eve Walk, this year The Seattle Santa is setting up shop at Ballard Brothers Seafood in Seattle. Beginning November 25 (the day after Thanksgiving) and continuing every day through Christmas, the public can visit with Santa and his elves at 5305 15th Avenue NW in Seattle. The Seattle Santa’s Workshop will be open daily from 12:00-6:00 p.m., with photos with Santa starting at $10 per family and donations to help fill gift bags encouraged.