GRAND FALLS-WINDSOR, NL – Santa is a busy man.
He can’t make it to every event, so he has people all over the world to assist him during the busy months leading up to Christmas.
One such helper is Bruce Moores, a Botwood boy who has called Grand Falls-Windsor home for the last 46 years.
He’s been Santa’s helper in the parade in Grand Falls-Windsor for five or six years, riding alongside Mrs. Claus as the main attraction.
“The last three years I’ve been gathering kids’ names to make a list,” Moores said. “I identify the kids on the street by location.
“The last two years I’ve had over 120 kids’ names.”
Moores said he and his wife Lillian – who he says is also a “professional volunteer” – have always been involved with children.
Moores himself was a Scout leader in his younger days for 13 years.
“I love kids,” Moores said, adding the Santa’s helper gig is a perfect fit.
He loves seeing the look on children’s faces when they see Santa and he speaks to them during the parade.
“We were driving by and I saw one kid with their front teeth gone and I said ‘ho, ho, ho, Santa gotta get you some front teeth for Christmas,’” Moores said, adding there was a great reaction from the child and parents.
“(I love) seeing the looks on the kids’ faces when you call their names or say something funny to them.
“And not only the kids, but the adults as well.”
After the parade Santa visits the Carmelite House, which is another favourite of his.
“Visiting those seniors, every year you have a splash,” Mores said. “It’s amazing. It’s just lots of fun.”
Moores also helps Santa in Norris Arm North, where he volunteers his time at the United Church in his wife’s hometown, and attends services every couple of weeks.
This Santa’s helper will be 75 years old on Christmas day, and his community involvement list is still quite long.
While most may recognize Moores as a town councillor – a position he held for eight years before deciding not to run in the September election – he’s also noted as being a firefighter, a ‘breakfast program man,’ and more.
“I’ve been a volunteer fireman for 42 years here in Grand Falls-Windsor,” Moores said. “I resigned about two years ago but I still run their TV Bingo on Thursday evenings. I put in about 20-25 a week on the bingo thing.”
He has been helping the Cataracts with their bingo fundraisers for the past two or three years, and every Thursday delivers Meals on Wheels.
“That’s rewarding as well,” Moores said.
He’s on the refugee committee, which brought one family to the community a year and a half ago and is welcoming the second family to town, and has been volunteering and working for the Diabetes Association for about 10 years, doing collection on the drop boxes.
He has 10 years under his belt as a co-ordinator of a school breakfast program and is at school two or three times a week delivering food such as fresh fruit and milk.
Why would someone be so involved with so much volunteering?
“Lillian tells me it’s because my mother was a professional volunteer,” Moores said. “She was really involved with volunteering for the Red Cross and the hospital, the church … I guess it rubbed off.”
His mother, Cora (Effie) Moores is the namesake of the gift shop in the hospital in Botwood.
“The rewards of volunteering are just untold,” Moores said. “My reward for the breakfast program is when I’m walking through the mall and a kid says ‘mom, that fellow there does breakfast.’
“I like to see people happy and I do what I can to make them feel good.”