Saturday, Nov. 18 will be a festive day in Tacoma when the Santa Cruisers come to town for their fourth annual visit from noon to 2 p.m. Santa will be rolling through town in style this year in a small parade led by Volkswagen owners, with Santa in the front in his very own bus. Even Herbie the beloved “Love Bug” will be present at the parade.
The Santa Cruisers takes part in this event every year right around Thanksgiving. The event is held at the local non-profit Client Services Center of LASA (Living Access Support Alliance). Here the parade flows into the parking lot, and Santa and his helpers file into LASA with donations for the holidays. These donations vary from hygienic products to food and toys.
One of the important heads behind the Santa Cruisers is Megan Corona. Corona herself dresses up as an elf for this event, and helps Santa take photos with all the children. Families get the opportunity to take photos as well, and later the Santa Cruisers send out their professional photos via email to everyone that attends the event. LASA Executive Director Janne Hutchins said, “These people honestly love to help people without seeking anything in return. They just want to help.”
Corona herself was in a position of hardship as a child, and feels a deep connection to the children that attend the event.
Corona explained, “My dad left my mom. My mom had two kids and couldn’t keep a job. One day a man knocked on the door. He told us that he had heard that we had been struggling and he wanted to help. He had wrapped gifts and food. My mother looked at my sibling and I and told us to never forget this moment, and I haven’t.” It was this story that has driven Corona to continue this event for so many years.
The people in this group have known each other for decades. They come from as far south as Vancouver to as far north as Snohomish County to participate in this event. They have a common passion for two things: helping people and their love of Volkswagens. Corona added, “Everyone needs that stranger to show that they care.” This is exactly what drives these members to keep coming out each year and donate in any way they can.
This event is also paired with LASA Holiday Food Drive for the families registered with their family housing programs. Those in the general public that wish to get involved and help out with the holiday food drive are invited to bring non-perishable items to the event where they will be collected in a LASA van that will be on-site during the event. The Santa Cruiser parade is open to everyone that would like to participate. For families looking for a fun day of festivities, the Client Services Center of LASA at 8956 Gravelly Lake Drive SW in Lakewood is the place to be. Please be aware that parking is limited and visitors can park along 59th Street just a block away and walk to the event.
Learn more about LASA at www.lasawa.org.