“Utter Amazement and Then Shock. Thank You, Whoever You Are. You are a Wonderful Person”

In December 2011, a Secret Santa passed out $100 bills at a food pantry in Brunswick, Maine. Many recipients of the money cried. Cyndy Carney, Executive Director of the Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program on Union Street, said, “It was a total shock for us. This put a bright spot in their day.” In 2009, the Secret Santa handed out $10,000 to people visiting a Goodwill store in Portland, Maine. In 2010, the Secret Santa handed out $20,000 at the Warming Hut food pantry in Sebago, Maine. In 2011, Michelle Phinney of Bowdoin, Maine, who had lost her job the previous year and who supports a two-year-old daughter, planned to use the money to help pay her electric bill. She said, “Utter amazement and then shock. Thank you, whoever you are. You are a wonderful person.” The Secret Santa declined to give his identity. He said, “To me, remaining anonymous is the essence of the giving spirit.” Maine’s Secret Santa was inspired by the example of Larry Stewart, who until his death was a Secret Santa in Kansas City, Missouri. Maine’s Secret Santa said, “The whole idea is to convince other people to do something similar. We’d love to see it happen more often.”

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