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SPECIAL SANTA: Event For Kids With Unique Needs

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One local church is taking Santa out of the mall for a special experience for kids with special needs.

Journey Church hosted an accessible Easter egg hunt this past spring. The event attracted hundreds of kids with special needs. This Saturday, the group will host The Special Santa Event at the Iowa Events Center.

It’s a chance for kids to visit Santa in an accessible environment. Mom Brenda Hummel brought a similar event to Jordan Creek Town Center last year, so her daughter Andrea could sit on Santa’s lap.

She teamed up with Journey Church to make the event even bigger this year. There’s room for four hundred kids to get a private session with the big guy. Parents of kids with special needs can sign up at The event is from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. this Saturday. Kids will get five minutes with Santa all to themselves.

Organizer Derian Baugh says, “You can use that 5 minutes however you want. So, of course we want you to be able to get your picture taken with Santa. But, Santa’s going to ask you questions, get to know your child a little bit. You can even take a family photo, if you prefer. But, we really want to take the time and make it special for you.”

About three hundred slots are still available. Groups will also be there hosting crafts and other activities designed for kids with special needs.

Merle Hay Mall is offering families of kids with special needs a second chance to see Santa there. The mall hosted a Santa Cares event last Sunday. The mall opened early, turned off music, lowered the music and stopped construction to make the morning easier for families of kids with special needs.

But, a spokesperson says not all families could make it because of the snow. So, Santa will be available again on Sunday, December 22nd. Parents can sign up on Merle Hay Mall’s website for a Santa Cares appointment from eight thirty to ten.