I remember the day I met Santa’s mama. It was in 2007, and her name was Peggy Hart. She was browsing in the Everett and Jones Barbeque's gift store, on Fruitvale Avenue in Oakland, and we started talking.
Mama Claus, whom I call Peggy, told me about her son, Shawn, whom she laughingly said had a big belly, would make a perfect Santa for our annual toy giveaway. She said Shawn often helped out at her daycare, and was good with kids. She added that he could also be available for the Pictures with Santa schedule.
You see, at the gift shop during the Christmas season, we offered the neighborhood kids free pictures with Santa, but our schedule was limited to the availability of our volunteer Santa, but that all changed when Peggy showed up. According to his mama, Shawn would be available whenever we needed him. Even Santa has to listen to his mama.
Peggy sent Shawn to meet me and she was right. He was the perfect Santa! And ever since that wonderful day, Shawn Hart has been the official Everett and Jones Barbeque Santa. For 12 years he has been dedicated to spreading joy and love to thousands of kids that have come through the Everett and Jones Toy giveaways, that is until the Covid-19 pandemic shut down everything in 2019 and 2020 forcing us to cancel the annual event.
Now COVID-19 restrictions have eased and we can resume the celebration. But where is Santa?
I was given the task of finding him, so what did I do? I called his mama, and after a wonderful trip down memory lane, she gave me his contact info.
And guess what, y'all?… Santa Claus is coming BACK to town!. Hallelujah! Amen! He will make his appearance December 18, 2021, at Everett and Jones Barbeque Berkeley location, 1955 San Pablo Avenue. Shawn is doing his part to continue the work of my sister, Mary Everett, at her Christmas toy drive and giveaway in the city of Berkeley. All children and adults must wear a mask.
9 days to go until the Dec 18, 2021 toy give away. Drop off toys at any Everett and Jones Barbeque location. Online registries are also available with delivery options:
Amazon: Mary Everett’s Christmas Toy Drive/Everett & Jones BBQ
Target: Mary Everett Christmas Toy Drive’s Charity Registry
What does Santa do on his off time, you ask?
He runs his own daycare center. That's right! Santa still serves kids.
Shawn’s daycare is called Hart 2 Heart, located at 816 56th Street, Oakland, CA 94608.
This God fearing man has given so much to the kids and the community. It's time we give back to him.
I recall one day when a lady was visiting her mother in the nursing care facility on Fruitvale Avenue and Brookdale. She saw Shawn standing across the street in full Santa dress, doing his Santa thing of waving at passing and honking cars. This lady ran across the street, and asked if he would come inside the nursing home and visit with her mother. Shawn did not hesitate. He did what was asked and followed the lady into the home. He would not miss the opportunity to spread joy and love.
We are so grateful for Shawn Hart and his willingness to help spread Christmas cheer, and his mother, Peggy for the introduction.
We have an opportunity to give Santa a Christmas gift this year. Peggy told me Shawn’s wish is to have a new play structure in the backyard for the children enrolled in his daycare and started a Go Fund Me page to make that happen. Let's make him smile this time. Here is the link: gofund.me/c74e1c8a
Ron Zeno, who had been the Children’s Fairyland Santa for 20 years, gave a Santa workshop for new Santa's; Shawn was his star student.
Looking for an agent/publisher for a proposed new barbeque book from a Black woman's perspective 50 years in the game.
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