Jim Steinmetz’s first Santa costume seven years ago featured red suspenders, a plaid shirt and a false beard. He didn’t exactly want to be a Santa, but yielded to the request from his woodworker’s association.
Today, the beard is real, the costume is classic and the heart is full.
Steinmetz and his wife, Ann, both of Huntington Beach, have since formed Claus for a Cause, and spend each holiday season visiting thousands of children to raise funds for Breast Cancer Angels, a local organization that directly benefits women in cancer treatment and their families.
The Steinmetzes were surprised at their donation total this season, despite the financial downturn.
“This is the best year we’ve ever had,” Steinmetz said. “We raised just a little over $4,000 that first year. The next year, thanks to many repeat customers, it was a little over $7,000. The next was $13,000. Last year was $14,000. This year, we’re going to break $18,000.”