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Friends of Santa Claus

The spirit of Christmas is alive year-round at this WNC nonprofit.

Christmas is a season of giving, of sharing your gifts with family members, friends and the less fortunate. Whether you’re religious or not, giving back to the community is an integral part of many people’s lives, especially during this time of year. Santa is not a religious figure, yet he’s known the world over as the icon of giving and giving back.

So who better to represent the spirit of giving back than the jolly old elf himself — Santa Claus. As a commercial business that serves Western North Carolina and Upstate South Carolina, Hendersonville Tents supports a number of worthy causes. And one of our favorites is Friends of Santa Claus. There can be no worthier cause than helping sick kids feel better. We are proud to give space on our blog to sing their praises.

The Spirit of Giving

Ted and Barbara Van Thullenar started Friends of Santa Claus in 1993 in Hendersonville, NC. The nonprofit relies entirely on the generosity of the community and its board members to offer its services; there are no paid staff members in the group.

Friends of Santa Claus targets children with cancer and their families. The giving back takes place all year round, although December is a particularly important time for Friends. As it says on the group’s website

“As you can tell by our name, the jolly old man in red is very special to our organization, just as he is in the lives of these children. In fact, Santa Claus comes to EVERY event we have, bringing each child a present. The real joy comes every time Santa walks into the room. WOW! The smiles on their faces are a sight to behold!”

Service with Love

The 10 board members of Friends of Santa Claus — and the more than 100 dedicated volunteers — run a number of events throughout the year. A sampling includes:

  • A Christmas carnival day

  • A Charleston get-away weekend for the whole family

  • Family fun days in fall and spring

  • A teen team-building weekend

  • Camp Merry Times summer camp

And Santa appears at every event, no matter when or where it occurs. A scholarship program provides $2,500 per year to eligible students for college. The fund continues on in memory of founder Ted Van Thullenar, who died from pancreatic cancer.

Giving Back with Intention

Hendersonville Tents is a proud supporter of Friends of Santa Claus, and we encourage all our friends to follow suit. Children fighting cancer and their families have their entire lives turned upside down by the disease. Often, just knowing that they’re not alone and that they have help can make the process a little more bearable.

We give thanks for all our wonderful clients, for our family, for our friends and for the opportunity to live and work in a community that takes care of its own through organizations such as Friends of Santa Claus. Let’s make it a merry holiday for everyone.

Hendersonville Tents Party and Event Rentals is a family-owned and operated business providing tents, tables, chairs, dance floors, pipe and drapes, tableware, games, specialty lighting, PA systems… everything you need to host a memorable outdoor event. Whatever your needs, Hendersonville Tents has got you covered.

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