The Santa Hotline: Columbia organization brings joy to children

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COLUMBIA- Children in Columbia have the opportunity to call the "Santa Hotline" today to speak to Santa or other characters from the North Pole.

The event which runs from 9 am to 3 pm has been going on for a known twenty years, said Sarah Bowman, Recreation Specialist with the Parks and Recreation Department. 

Held at Paquin Tower, the event is fueled by volunteer service. Volunteers can take on the persona of elves, Santa, Mrs. Claus and even a reindeer. These volunteers range from MU students, to Paquin Tower residents, to any interested community members.

John Meyer who is playing Santa Claus today is no newcomer to the role. Meyer has been playing santa for about ten years now at Breakfast with Santa at the St. Louis Zoo. 

As far as the hot-ticket items of the year, Meyer reports that they are, "Bicycles, Lego toys and because the kids are hip, its not just iPad its 'tablet'." 

Children can call as many times as they want so picking up all those phone calls can be difficult. Bowman shared that she hopes to get more phones in the future so that they do not miss any of those very important calls.

"So far we have got about 125 calls, usually throughout the day we get between 2 to 3 hundred," said Bowman.  

To call the Santa Hotline use one of these two numbers:  874-7473 or 874-6335. The hotline does request children be between the ages of 3 and 10.