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Martinsville Bulletin, Inc.
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Martinsville, Virginia 24115
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SPCA's Santas to remain secret

Friday, December 28, 2012

By PAUL COLLINS - Bulletin staff writer

The local SPCA’s secret Santas will remain wrapped in mystery.

For 12 days before Christmas, secret Santas left goodies, gifts and notes for the staff of the SPCA of Martinsville-Henry County.

On Christmas Eve, the staff found the final gift from its secret Santas along with a card reading: “Yes, SPCA, there is a Santa. It’s not a he or a she, but rather a we. We hope you enjoyed our attention, but please, our names we’d never mention. For next year, we want to again attend to the needs of another organization or friend. Your shoutouts on Facebook have given even the old of us cause to look. It’s been a joy to provide for those who protect our animals’ hide. You’re a shining example of what Henry County has to sample.”

The gifts left in a red tote on Day 12 were cookie sandwiches (chocolate chip cookies with icing in the middle), a flower arrangement shaped like a reindeer dog and a Santa dog, and a $250 VISA gift card, said Chase Inman, director of marketing and development and volunteer coordinator with the Martinsville-Henry County SPCA.

She added that a note with the gift card read, “Here’s our donation to care for your animal nation.” It was signed, “Secret Santa Family.”

On Day 11, the secret Santas left ham biscuits, pumpkin pie and a card reading: “It really only seems like seven. A brunch snack for those who care for those who dare to rescue animals great and small. She’s even been known to take them to the mall. Ham biscuits with pumpkin pie dessert — just a token to what you deserve.”

Inman said she didn’t know whom “she” referred to in that note, but “a lot of us here are ladies,” referring to SPCA staff.

Here’s what the secret Santas left previously: Day 1 — five cheese pizzas; Day 2 — a large red tote containing a fruit basket; Day 3 — a huge tray of fudge; Day 4 — a big tray of ginger snaps; Day 5 — a huge coconut cake with candy canes decorating the edges; Day 6 — six miniature banana nut cake loaves and a $50 Subway gift card; Day 7 — a basket of assorted crackers and two cheese ball-type dips in Santa pet food bowls; Day 8 — a tin of marble bark (chocolate candy) and several pieces of peppermint bark; Day 9 — a huge plate of Rice Krispies, covered in chocolate and M&M’s; and Day 10 — cake and frappuccinos.

The SPCA staff and others have been aglow with the spirit of Christmas as a result of the experience, according to Inman.

“It’s hugely important to us (SPCA staff), one of the biggest things for us. It was such a childlike experience for us. We were able to get incredibly excited,” Inman said.

She said she doesn’t think the secret Santas realized how special they are to SPCA staff. “It made us feel like kids again. To think people are so generous, it’s really a refreshing feeling for us. To have a group of people who want to remain anonymous (do such acts of kindness) ... we’re so grateful.”

Throughout the 12 days, SPCA staff was curious about secret Santas’ identities and tried to guess or piece together clues.

“We even tried to outsmart our Christmas Santa,” said Inman. She arrived at the SPCA at 4:30 one morning for a news interview, but secret Santa(s) had already come and gone. “They were good,” she said.

Despite their curiosity about secret Santas’ identities, SPCA workers did not and will not take the ultimate step to find out: replaying the film from the SPCA’s security camera.

Doing that “would absolutely spoil it. If we watched the video, that would violate the wishes (of secret Santas, whose kindness) was such a sweet gesture,” Inman said.

Inman thinks secret Santas’ generosity “made all of us (at the SPCA) want to do for each other, going out and getting little things to make each other happy.”

And the SPCA’s daily Facebook postings about secret Santas’ 12 days of kindness encouraged other people to give as well, Inman said. More people than usual went to the SPCA’s wish list on Amazon to buy supplies and other items for the SPCA and animals sheltered there. Also, people brought in “goodies for the staff,” Inman said.

“I think this has been eye-opening as to how far a gesture like this can go. It’s the pay-it-forward mentality. It brought so much happiness and joy to our staff that we want to share (do a similar project) with another family or organization next year,” Inman said.

The secret Santas “made a cute game, fun and festive, filled with a holiday spirit that a lot of people have lost.” Inman said. She added she “hopes it shines a little light and makes people feel there’s still some holiday spirit left in the world.”


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