YONKERS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — This is the season when Santa Claus comes to town, but in Yonkers, it’s also his homecoming.
As CBS 2’s Lou Young reported, Andrew Malcolm visits the Andrus Center each year dressed as Santa Claus and bearing gifts. The white-bearded man used to live at the orphanage from 1941-48.
There is a special bond between him and the children.
“Love is the kind of thing that you can’t really describe,” Malcolm told Young. “But I do feel very, very strongly about it. I was once one of them, and I have tried every year that I come here to talk to the children and say, ‘I once lived in Andrus Hall, right over there.'”
Malcolm addresses the children as “fellow travelers on a difficult road.” He hands out simple wrapped toys — nothing fancy, three per child.
The moment, he says, will last long after the toys are gone. Santa has a more important gift to deliver.
“The act of giving itself is what the real gift is,” Malcolm said.
The Andrus Center opened as an ophanage in 1928. It now has both residential and day-school programs for children with special needs.
Malcolm’s visits keeps the children believing in St. Nick.
“Santa Claus is real,” said Kasheem, one of the boys living at the Andrus Center. “Many times, Santa Claus used to come to my cottage. … You remember when I had that wrecked remote control car?”
And it turns out, Santa was one of them — so how bad could things be?
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