He doesn’t have a big red cap or a belly that belly that shakes like a bowlful of jelly.
But for “orphaned” seniors this Christmas at Amherst Manor, Michael Rakar is Santa Claus.
“A lot of people at this nursing home don’t have relatives who come visit them or they don’t have relatives at all. So they don’t really have Christmas,” the Steele High School senior said.
So he visited this past weekend, not down the chimney, but through the front door of the North Lake Street retirement home.
Rakar, the vice president for community service of the National Honor Society, delivered gifts of cologne, hand lotion, perfume, socks, blankets, mittens, hats, stuffed animals, Christmas ornaments, tea, coffee, and nail polish.
Christmas is Rakar’s favorite holiday. In the past, his family has picked names from the Giving Tree at St. Peter Parish in Lorain, providing gifts for families in need.
He decided to challenge classmates at Steele to give and dubbed the project “Stockings for Seniors.” Rakar started by putting the names of 25 Amherst Manor residents on the little tree in the high school lobby.
All 25 names were taken by the end of the first day.
Rakar called the nursing home and asked for the names of 25 more residents who wouldn’t otherwise get Christmas gifts. Those, too, were taken quickly by Santa’s helpers at Steele.
Michael’s mother, Deborah Rakar was moved by the way presents came flooding in.
“My living room is filled with gifts. I cannot believe it,” she said Friday as the delivery date neared. “I came home last night and I said, ‘Oh my gosh.’ You can’t believe the kids did it themselves.”
Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-988-2801 or @EditorHawk on Twitter.
Jason Hawk | Amherst News-Times Michael Rakar set up a little Christmas tree decorated with stockings and let his classmates help supply presents for Amherst Manor residents who otherwise might not have presents for the holidays. “I wanted to be someone who could say, yeah, I did something. I just wanted to be able to say in my heart that I gave more than I got this year,” he said.