The Bakers, who run Just BeClause Charity, spend the holiday season making those less fortunate believe in the miracle of Christmas. They received their own miracle June 23 when the Amsterdam Fire Department donated their old ambulance to Just BeClause.
For nearly two decades, Bob has portrayed Santa for thousands of people, including elementary students, the mentally challenged and elderly residents in nursing homes and young children with illnesses.
Santa and his elves visited and delivered gifts and food in an old 90s ambulance. “Last December we were in Bergholz and it quit,” explained Bob. “We worked on it but have not been able to get it to run again.”
Amsterdam FD was discussing the purchase of another ambulance. “They told me last Thursday they purchased an ambulance and would I want their old one,” Bob stated. “I asked what the selling price was because times are tough.”
Amsterdam Fire Chief Jason Gallagher told Baker they didn’t want to sell it to him but to donate to Just BeClause.
“We decided we wanted to donate it to Just BeClause because of all they do for the community and unfortunate,” Gallagher said. “There isn’t a better place for it to go.”
The ambulance was delivered to the Just BeClause Workshop, a large garage the Bakers and helpers transformed into a storage area with shelves to store totes full of toys, clothing and non-perishable food items, and a separate area where the “elves” wrap gifts.
However, the ambulance was not the only surprise the department had for Just BeClause. Gallagher opened the back doors to show the Bakers and their helpers how much room there was only for them to realize it was filled with six new bicycles.
“We saved for a period of time to get a new [to us] ambulance,” Gallagher said. “We also saved to purchase the bikes to help Just BeClause.”
“This is so cool,” said Bob, who turned to Andrea Allender (the head elf) and continued, “There is so much room in here for activities.”
Just BeClause accepts donations year-round for the holiday season. They serve approximately 60 families in the Bergholz-Amsterdam area.
To make a food, toy, clothing or monetary donation, contact the Bakers at 740-768-273 or visit their Facebook page at JustBeclausecharity jbc.