Mall hosts visit with Santa for special needs children

Families get pictures taken without noise and crowds


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Children in our area got a special treat straight from the North Pole. It was a chance to visit Santa and tell them what they want for Christmas. But the visit with Santa at the Avenues Mall was extra special because it was for children with special needs who may not go to the mall during normal hours because of the noise and the crowds.

Caring Santa is an opportunity many other parents and their children are glad they could share. Grandparent Cheryl Warren says, "I am ecstatic because these things they don't have these all over the place and it's hard for them to get their picture taken with a patient, loving man and he is the greatest santa."

People got to look at the pictures they took with santa so they could pick out the best one and take it home. Mall organizers say they're glad to be part of the event.

Angie Vennerstrom with the Avenues Mall says, "Well we think it's really important because there are a lot of families who have never been able to see santa just because of all of the sensory overload that happens in the mall during regular business hours.

And parents like Christian Resendez were glad glad their children got the opportunity.

"I mean I think it's great it's the first opportunity that we've had to bring our son to something like this because it's a little more difficult for children with special needs.

Organizers say it's an event they want to continue having next year.