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EN Santas, elves bring smiles to Tri-Cities children

Feature story

Cheerful cries of “Santa! Santa!”​​ echoed across the Tri-Cities Dec. 13 as jolly ol’ St. Nick and his elves arrived at Head Start classrooms,​ bringing toys and a little holiday magic.

More than 350 participants in the Benton Franklin Head Start program received presents this week, purchased and delivered by Energy Northwest employees. In the 42 years that EN has sponsored Head Start for the holidays, over 16,000 children have received gifts through the program. 

“We just really look forward to the opportunity to help kids who might not be able to celebrate Christmas in the way we do,” CEO Bob Schuetz (aka Santa) told the KAPP/KVEW TV station. “It’s hard to imagine kids who don’t get that who don’t have the opportunity. So we can make 300 more happier and it’s just a great feeling.”

A dozen Santas, elves and even Mrs. Claus spread across seven Head Start locations, singing songs, taking photos and distributing packages. This was the first time that EN has been able to bring Santa to the classroom since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
​“I’ve participated in Head Start for years, but this was my first year being Santa,” said Randy Prewett, plant general manager. “You could see it in their eyes, how much this means to them for Santa to come. It really drove it home for me how important it is that we do this.”

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