As every little child knows, Santa Claus is coming to town.
And in the case of Warner Robins, one of his helpers will be here for several weeks.
Zach Ivester, 18, and a senior at Warner Robins High School, has been one of Santa’s helpers for the past six years.
Starting Dec. 10, Zach, aka Santa, will be waving at cars and meeting with children every night in front of his grandmother’s house on Kimberly Road.
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Zach began dressing up as Santa, giving out toys and hearing Christmas lists when he was 12 years old. The effort is a family affair; parents Ricky and Heather, and Zach’s Granny and Aunt Liz all help out with decorating the yard and purchasing toys to give away. Sister Macy will be one of Santa’s elves.
“We love doing things for our community and this started because we saw a need to help underprivileged children by giving away toys. It began from that and has just grown over the years,” said Zach.
Children who come to see Santa on Kimberly Road can have their picture made, tell Santa what is on their lists and receive a toy.
“The real reason for the season is helping others. It is the Godly thing to do. God sent his son Jesus on Christmas to save us from our sins, to help us and commands us to help others as well. So because I am a believer in Christ, it is kinda my thing,” said Zach.
Zach said the job of being Santa comes with some sorrow.
“I have heard some sad stories, people that have lost everything, people that tell me this is all their child will be getting for Christmas,” he said.
But the story that really tugged at the Ivester family’s heart didn’t come from a child.
“There was a grown woman that came three years ago. She was in her 50s and she was intoxicated pretty bad. She came back the next year and told us that she hadn’t had a sip of alcohol since that night she was here drunk; when she found out a young person was playing Santa and giving away toys, she was so embarrassed and humiliated she stopped drinking altogether,” said Zach.
Zach will be at 501 Kimberly Road at 6:30 every night beginning Dec. 10. On school nights, he will be there until about 8:30; on weekend nights he will stay later. The event will end Dec. 23 since Santa will be very busy on Christmas Eve.
Because of the heavy amount of regular traffic on Kimberly, the family asks that people who want to park and talk to Santa park on the side of the house on Todd Circle.
You can follow Santa Claus Zach on Facebook. The page includes other Christmas events and activities.
Alline Kent can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.