Last year, Lend A Hand saved Santa Claus from being homeless.
It was a Christmas miracle for David Lindamood, who has been dressing up as Santa for little believers for many years.
“I used to have 600 to 700 children visit me at Pine Hills for 15 years,” said the Duxbury resident, referring to the annual holiday pageant at Pinehills Golf Course. Every year, he lit the Duxbury Christmas tree, and his past Decembers were a whirl of appearances at parties and events, all of which have stopped due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“I look like Santa Claus,” he said as his bright blue eyes twinkle behind rimless eyeglasses, worn above a curly white beard. “In July, people take their pictures with me.”
Lindamood said he is reminded daily of his purpose. His small apartment is filled with Santas, holiday souvenirs, and his costumes. He lives to see wee ones shiny-eyed with excitement.
Pre-COVID, little ones pulled at his sleeve in public places or greeted him whenever he fished on the Powder Point Bridge.
“They’d come out and talk to me. They’d ask me why I wasn’t at the North Pole and I told them I vacationed in Duxbury. They made me feel like I was somebody special,” he said.
Last year, Lindamood said serious gum infection required emergency dental work that cost $4,000, which he had to put on a credit card.
“I was on penicillin for three weeks,” said Lindamood. “An oral surgeon had to extract five teeth, and make partial upper and lower bridges.”
Lindamood is 85 years old, and his only income is Social Security and his seasonal Santa jobs. The retired salesman and veteran lives in federally assisted housing. Only able to make a minimum monthly payment, his credit card interest grew at an alarming rate.
He had to rely on a food bank to eat and losing his apartment became a real threat.
“I told people there, ‘I depend on you people to feed me because I can’t get out from under,'” he said.
Lindamood asked for help through South Shore Community Action Council and Lend A Hand, which paid his rent for four months. That allowed him to put his rent money toward his credit card bill.
“I also used the $1,200 from a stimulus check and that got me just about out of debt,” he said. “So now I can survive and have $6 at the end of the month. . . They (Lend a Hand) got me out of a problem I couldn’t get out of otherwise.”
Now, Santa is once again ready to give back.
On the Sunday after Thanksgiving, Lindamood was outside Duxbury High School for a “drive-by” where he waved to children, spreading holiday cheer.
He said, “They have to know Santa is alive and will be at their home on Christmas Eve.”
He did a local Rotary Club TV program, “Santa Reading Letters from Children,” and he lit the Rotary’s Christmas tree.
His desire is to make sure children see that Santa’s magic is alive and well this season.
“Children are confined at home, they have to wear masks, and they’re confused,” he said.
Though holiday parties and events have dwindled, Lindamood said he will appear wherever he can to give children reassurance that all is well.
“That’s my Christmas,” he said. “Believe me when I say I get more from the children than I’ve given. They make me want to live.”
Suzette Martinez Standring can be reached at email@example.com.
Here’s how you can Lend a Hand:
Call our friends at Ansaphone at 617-424-9825 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.
Donate securely online though PayPal.
Or clip the coupon published in The Patriot Ledger print edition, fill out all the fields, write a check or money order and mail it to:
Lend a Hand, The Patriot Ledger
3 Webster Square, PMB #467, Marshfield, MA 02050
Please note new mailing address.