December 2, 2021

Children meet Santa in Homer

Youngsters get chance to greet St. Nick at church event this weekend

Colin Spencer/staff reporter

Corbyn Kemp, 10, hugs a stuffed animal on Saturday while his grandmother Belinda Kemp looks at toys inside Homer’s First United Methodist Church. Children had the chance to have their picture taken with Santa, take a toy, a decoration and sweets.

When you see Santa Claus in person, you’ve got to be prepared.

That’s why 10-year-old Corbyn Kemp of Homer wore his Santa T-shirt Saturday to look like, and perhaps impress, the big man at Homer First United Methodist Church.

Children like Kemp could meet Santa from afar — as he was stationed with Mrs. Claus at the top of a stairwell and have their picture taken with him with a socially distanced bench at the bottoms of the stairs.

The children could also take a toy, a Christmas tree decoration and cookies and sweets as well.

The church usually has a breakfast with Santa fundraiser each December for kids, said Deb Podoliak, secretary of the church’s board of trustees. Additionally, a bazaar offers goods for sale.

“Basically, the only difference is they’re not able to directly interact with Santa and not have breakfast,” she said.

Podoliak said attendance was lower than normal Saturday as she thought people may have been skeptical with how to meet Santa safely.

Still, those who came seemed to enjoy it.

“It’s really good,” said Tracy Hingher of Cortland. She came with her 5-year-old son, DJ Krango, who she typically takes to see Santa at the Municipal Water Works building in Cortland, an event canceled this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

While Krango was shy and didn’t speak to Santa, he did pick out a toy robot.

Hingher said she and her family plan to stay home this Christmas and making a ham dinner.

Belinda Kemp of Homer stopped by with 10-year-old grandson Corbyn Kemp, who she wanted to make sure could see Santa this year.

“We’re going to be in Florida for Christmas so we’d thought we’d see Santa here,” she said. The Kemps will spend the holiday with Belinda Kemp’s daughter.

Corbyn Kemp said he liked showing Santa his own Santa shirt, which the big guy liked, too. Corbyn Kemp also picked out a stuffed toy of Simba from “The Lion King,” a movie he said he really likes.

And for Belinda Kemp’s hopes for the holiday season?

“For families to be united,” she said.