St. Cloud is a town that, when neighbors are in need, resembles more of a village. Because it takes a village to support one another sometimes.
And that showed Wednesday night at the Venue at Cobblestone in downtown St. Cloud. The annual “St. Cloud Family Christmas” is already a holiday miracle, with local merchants and civic groups donating presents, a hot meal and all the fixings for a Christmas dinner to take home.
But Wednesday, there was a slight problem. With Santa Claus on hand, ready to make some early deliveries, the sack of toys was a little light.
Enters Mike Fisher, a Democratic candidate for Osceola County Sheriff, who originally showed up just to see if he could offer a helping hand. He, wife Rachel and a handful of event volunteers ended up lending their sleighs, which pose as pickup trucks any other day.
They whisked off to Santa’s regional distribution center at Wal-Mart, on Fisher’s dime, for those 13 families.
“You certainly don’t want those families coming all the way here and then having nothing,” he said. “It’s the right time of year, giving is good.”
Angie Redman, who helps coordinate different aspects of the event each year — this was her first serving as Santa’s toy director — said it couldn’t have been pulled off this year without the Fishers’ help.
It was a star-studded affair, with Santa along with four of the Silver Spurs Rodeo queens: Kaydynce Redman (Miss Florida Little Britches Junior Princess), Kymber Schneider (Junior Miss Silver Spurs Runner-Up), Madison Gunther (Little Miss Silver Spurs) and Samanth Giel (Miss Silver Spurs First Runner-Up).
St. Cloud Fire Department delivered baskets for the meals that families would take home. A number of toys came from the Montalvo family, who wanted to give back to the community a portion of what it gave them after the death of their sister Nicole.
The St. Cloud spirit of giving continues Saturday. Toys collected through the month by St. Cloud Fire Rescue and local businesses will be distributed at Hopkins Park.