Signing Santa greets deaf children during drive-thru event due to COVID

Posted at 4:35 PM, Dec 05, 2020

COMSTOCK PARK, Mich. — Every year millions of children love visiting with Santa. They sit on his lap and tell him what they want for Christmas.

Some of them though have more of a struggle. They either can’t speak or hear very well, if at all. But that doesn’t stop them from celebrating.

“Hey how are you? Merry Christmas,” said a volunteer to a family driving by.

It’s a new way to celebrate Christmas thanks to COVID.

Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services in Kentwood put it all together. Saturday’s event at Little Pine Island Camp welcomed families with children who are deaf or hard of hearing.

“A lot of families look forward to going to see Santa during the holiday season and get some photos and have those family memories, but those who are deaf and hard of hearing miss out on those opportunities because Santa cannot typically communicate with them,” said Erica Chapin with the organization.

Families were invited to the drive-thru experience with the man from the North Pole.

The coronavirus is really affecting everything this year including how we celebrate Christmas.

The annual event is now in it’s 11th year. This time, organizers had to switch to less-contact but the same amount of cheer.

“Usually we have it inside with all the children together, socializing, doing crafts, meeting Santa; but this year because of COVID we did it as a drive-thru.”

Parents drove station-to-station getting refreshments and toys. The final stop is where they get to greet the big guy who’s just like them.

“Our Santa, he is deaf himself. He knows sign language and we have interpreters here as well that way anyone who comes gets the chance to interact with Santa and have a fun holiday memory,” said Chapin.

Parents pre-registered 64 kids for the event including newborns to 18-year-olds.

The organization relies on volunteers and donations, so you can click here if you’d like to learn more or help out.