It doesn't get any better than community members making a difference, many hands making light work, bright smiling faces, incredible coffee and snacks, families filling bright orange bags with trail trash…and SANTA CLAUS!

Yes. You read that right.

The REAL Santa Claus (of visited with KIVA families today at the Lakeside Starbucks/KIVA Clean Valley Day Clean Up. After nearly two hours of cleaning up bags and bags of trash, the families received a special surprise when who should walk up, but Saint Nick, himself.

Seems that once a year, Mr. Claus finds time to participate in some community service. He works with Special Olympics, Habitat for Humanity, Children’s Network, Ronald McDonald House and more throughout what he calls the 12 Months of Christmas. Please visit for more information about this wonderful project. We look forward to having Santa visit with us again very soon.

Funny story:
419 is a great little pocket park, just a small patch of green grass, some swings and a basketball net. It backs up to many homes. Today, during our clean up, a lady looked out her back window and saw our merry crew. Then she happened to spot Santa working with us. She grabbed up her little one, who was having a difficult morning. She grabbed him up, telling him that he would not believe who was in the back yard!
He joined many a wonder-filled kid for a little play time and community service with Santa Claus today!

Santa visits Roanoke every year between November and December at Fantasyland at the History Museum of Western Virginia. This always marks the beginning of the Christmas holiday season for the Donahue family. It’s not Christmastime for the Donahues until we gather to listen to his songs and wonderful stories. He reminds the children that the season is about giving…of your heart. Doing something nice for others is the magic spark. Love is the reason for the celebrations and the gatherings. Please read more at our earlier blog last year at:

Thanks must also go to the fine folks of our local Lakeside Salem Starbucks. They provided many delicious snacks and fine bold coffee and drinks for the participants! They are a fine addition to our local community. Brandon and Matt took several empty bags out into the wooded area of the park and, like magic, returned with bags filled to the brim. Way to put your back into it Boys!

Check out more photos at our event gallery:

As always, thanks to Jon Beard for capturing the magic and thank you to the families who made it all possible today!

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Great photos and story!


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