VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Family disasters can be especially hard just before the holidays.
Virginia Beach first responders are teaming up with Santa to give kids some comfort during the hard times.
Santa Claus starts planning for “Santa On-Air” in October — and it’s a labor of love for him. Every year for the last 15 years, he’s come to Hampton Roads to talk with children who might be dealing with an emergency during the holidays.
Starting Dec. 21, local first responders can use a special radio channel to call Santa so he can speak to kids who might need some extra support. Santa says it’s his goal to comfort children and make sure they know the holidays are still coming, no matter what they’re going through.
Santa coordinates this with the Virginia Beach EMS — and even has his own badge. First responders in other cities can get a hold of him, too.
Plus, you can request to speak with Mrs. Claus.
10 On Your Side caught up with Santa on Dec. 13 while he was making some final preparations. He’s looking forward to another year of talking to local children.
“We have some wonderful responses that kids are more upbeat, they’ve gotten the opportunity to maybe express some of their concerns, but they recognize that Santa is here for them. Santa will always remind them that they got great teams of people there on the scene to help take care of them,” Santa said.
Emergency dispatchers tell 10 On Your Side hearing Santa on their radios is an amazing experience.
One dispatcher said, “Some of the hardest calls we at 911 take are those involving children. When we can call Santa over the air during the holidays it is magical. It makes a bad situation just little better for those children. I can say that we all get rather emotional when we hear Santa talking to the children. We all cry when we hear the joy in their little voices. It gives us great joy and pride to be a part of something so wonderful. Everyone loves Santa but dispatch has a special place in their hearts for the jolly ‘ol Saint Nick!”