9 degrees of cold. 110% Successful Santa Shuffle!

Nine degrees. I was getting nervous. 

Saturday, December 7th, the day of our second annual Santa Shuffle for Suicide Prevention Services (SPS).

Would the Santas show up? Would my seven year old son be crabby walking a mile in nine degree weather? Would he be warm enough? Is that safe to ask of anyone?

It seems that Suicide Prevention Services (SPS) events often bring questionable weather. I've come to the conclusion that it's natures way of bringing people to the event that are really, truly meant to be there. 

Nine degrees. The Yorkville Bowling Alley Parking lot 9AM. The cars filed in and the the boxes were pulled from my car. My son began distributing the Santa suits. We upgraded this year- Each Santa suit had pants, a jacket, a belt, a hat and a beard. 

No one complained of the cold. Not one person. It simply was. 
Everyone climbed into their suits. The beards were added. It was nearly time to shuffle. 

We stood in a circle and held hands. And said a prayer. Blessing the day. Blessing us. Thanking God for this moment. 

We began. 

My Stepdad, and my best friend Rose drove around us in case anyone got too cold and wanted a ride to our destination. A courtesy for safety. 

The honks and waving began immediately. Yorkville was ready for us. We waved. We walked. It was wonderful. 

River City Roasters once again opened their doors to greet us. Cocoa and cookies and a warm spot to rest. Their hot cocoa and cookies are truly second to none. 

We posed for a group photo and then carried on our way. Now we were walking towards traffic. To see the expressions of the cars passing by was amazing. The children, their parents. There were the occasional people who tried hard not to wave and then finally broke down with a hand up. Victory. 

Last year at the Santa Shuffle, I met Stephanie Bishop Fletcher and Anita & David Chesney. Little did I know at the time how serendipitous the event would be. Stephanie has grown to be a very dear friend of mine and partnered with me in hosting our Stars of Hope Festival in Yorkville on June 1st. www.starsofhopefestival.com. Anita is now an SPS Board Member, a part of SPS.  Today marked my "Santaversary" with all three of them. Our one year anniversary. 

We walked back to the bowling alley. Our Mrs. Claus (Barbara Capps Moore) went inside and announced.. "Have you seen my Santa? I have lost him again!" then in we went, parading on through. A few of the patrons yelled out, "I've been really good this year, Santa!" 

If fun and inspirational measure success, this event was off the chart. It was amazing. One of the best things I heard during our walk was, "This is better than Christmas."

Life is comprised of memories. This is one I will never ever forget. My son, my mom, stepdad, my brother, my best friend of 33 years, my best friend of 20 years, my Santaversary friends (Stephanie, Parker, Lora, David and Anita), my dears Katie & Megs & Kayla, too, & our amazing new friends we met today. This was one of the very best Christmas presents. 

To everyone who honked or waved, thank you. You made nine degrees very bearable. Thank you Yorkville! 

Thank you to our event sponsor, Whole Family Integrative Health.

Thank you to River City Roasters for donating your location, your amazing cookies and cocoa and your love. 

Should you or anyone you know need some extra support this month, or anytime, call us. 24/7/365. 800-273-TALK. Or visit us online: www.spsamerica.org

To see what's next for SPS, follow us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/suicidepreventionservices

Photo credit for this blog: David Chesney.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Stephanie Weber December 08, 2013 at 10:04 AM
This is such a beautiful, heartfelt blog by my daughter , Jen. I am proud of her for many reasons. Her commitment to helping people, her focus on bettering this world is amazing to all who know her. The Santa Shuffle is and was HER idea that has grown to fruition. Jen inspires al ofmusmt be better people....after all, it WAS 9 degrees...
Jen Slepicka December 09, 2013 at 09:24 AM
Thanks Mom. I love you.


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