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Bartender Santa helps bring Christmas to Spokane

Published On: Dec 23 2013 08:36:09 PM CST
Bartender Santa
SPOKANE, Wash. -

Tuesday and Wednesday, charities around the world will help make Christmas for families a little better. In Spokane, one man wanted to make a difference and found a wealth of community support. And thus the Bartender Santa was born.

A bartender to some people is a person who serves drinks, and maybe gives a listening ear, and hears the problems of everyday people. One bartender -- Gavin James -- took all that and, this Christmas, is turning it into action.

Tuesday was a culmination of two weeks of work off the clock. You see, James wanted to do something nice this year, so he collected donations from friends and the community and chipped in his own tip money to buy presents for total strangers. Eight families to be exact, with about 30 kids.

Nancy Benson was recommended by a friend of a friend on Facebook. Recently she's fallen on some tough times.

"My family's donated to Toys For Tots every year of my life. I've been doing it for 26 years. This year, we're the family that needs help. In a way it's very humbling," she said.

Christmas this year wasn't anything close to what she hoped for her five kids.

"We couldn't afford a lot, but we went to the Dollar Tree and each of our children picked out a gift to get. It wasn't a lot, but it was what we could do," she said.

That's when Bartender Santa came to her aid.

"This world will never be a better place unless we make it a better place," James said.

He's not looking for anything in return. James just woke up one day and decided he wanted to help.

And with his visit to Benson's home, he has one stop down and seven more to go to spread that idea.

"Anyone could do what I did this week, you know? Anybody," he said.

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