GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A superhero-like name is fitting for 20-year-old Kenneth “Kid Santa” Isaacson, both because of what he does and how fast he gets it done.
A firefighter and EMT by trade, the Dearborn Heights resident takes a different role come Christmas time; renting a U-Haul truck and filling it with thousands and thousands of dollars worth of toys, which he and a small crew of volunteers spend Christmas Eve delivering to kids in need across the state.
“It has grown to include the entire state. We had gifts delivered across the Mackinac Bridge just a few hours ago,” Isaacson told FOX 17 before making a stop in Grand Rapids.
One truck downstate another up north, it has grown a lot since Isaacson started this effort in Albion, as a 17-year-old in foster care.
“Christmas morning in foster care is not the best, so I took two checks, I worked part-time at Taco Bell, went to the Dollar General behind the Taco Bell and got whatever I could and got the neighbor next door to give me a lift over to the homeless shelter,” explained Isaacson. The rest is history.
When FOX 17 met up with Isaacson Friday, he was well on his way to delivering gifts to more than 200 kids across that state. Checking his list not once, but twice for the names of children who need it most.
“We have self-nominations, we look at news stories throughout the year. We'll have different organizations, law enforcement agencies, Salvation Army we have we take requests from many different sources. And then we comb through to find which families are the worst of the worst,” Isaacson explained.
“The families here are families that all the kids are under the age of 10 years old. So they believe in Santa Claus and they have no other ways to get anything for Christmas this year."
He knows firsthand what that is like so there’s nothing else he’d rather be doing on the holiday. “I mean, come on now. I mean, how cool is it to be Santa Claus?” he asked.
Though Isaacson doesn't dress in red or have a white beard. He prefers tactical boots and being as unassuming as possible.
While his mission is to make sure no kid is empty-handed come Christmas, even Kid Santa knows Christmas is not all about gifts, so he’s also delivering an important holiday message as well.
“This Christmas, I want you to think about the things that you do have versus the things that you don't have. Instead of making a list of things that you want this year, maybe make a list of things that you have things that you're grateful for because you have no idea just how truly lucky you are on Christmas morning.”
Issacson will finish the deliveries in his city of Dearborn Heights right around sunrise Christmas Day.
He also wants to continue growing his operation in the years to come, to help his effort click here.