“It’s nice to be nice and do something to help others,” said Reese Fletcher.
A genuine Santa Claus has spent nearly $18,000 on Christmas gifts that he has given to a charity for children in need. Reese Fletcher, the owner of a landscaping and fencing business, and his staff donated another $7,000 in gift cards for older kids to charitable organizations. The remaining $25,000 they raised was given to a charity that promotes suicide prevention. Reese said, per the Independent, “No kid should be without a gift at Christmas. Times are getting hard and the numbers of people struggling are getting bigger.”
Reese and his team also created 1,600 Christmas trees out of heaps of timber donated by neighborhood businesses, which they sold for $12 each to earn money. They then used the money to sponsor a toy store trolley dash to purchase toys, which were subsequently donated to charitable organizations that support kids in his hometown of Leeds. The team spent $17,000 and filled an incredible 37 trolleys at Smyth's Toys to ensure that underprivileged children had a gift to open on Christmas.
Reese, a parent of two himself, has purchased gifts for kids he doesn't know for the third consecutive year. His holiday fundraising activities got their start in 2020 when he watched a charity film spotlighting kids who most likely wouldn't receive any Christmas presents. “It’s nice to be nice and do something to help others,” he says. By selling 260 trees that he had built with wood from his company, Fletcher's Fencing, Decking, and Garden Maintenance, he was able to raise $3600. He contributed more than $12,000 to help buy Christmas presents for children the previous year. However, this year he more than doubled that sum by selling trees and with the aid of a crowdsourcing campaign on JustGiving.
“We had a big social media push and a lot of people have seen it and a lot of people that saw it last year followed us in the hope we’d do it again. The response this year compared to last year has just been amazing. It’s pretty much doubled, the amount we’ve raised in total,” he shared. The locals call him 'Yorkshire Santa' now, per Yorkshire Post. “The vibe in the toy shop was unreal, it was amazing. People just keep giving more and more and it gets bigger and better. Last year there were around 110 kids the charity we supplied to that weren’t going to get a present and this year it's 270, so it’s more than doubled.”
Reese, who was helped by a team including his father and two of his staff, praised local firms and farmers who helped his efforts. “We had a great donation from Premier Timber and BSW and a farmer gave us the use of his barns to store them in. Everybody comes together and wants to help.”
Cover Image Source: Facebook | Reese Fletcher