Kenny ZakemCo-Founder, Santa's Angels - A Project of Love
In Kenny Zakem’s imagination, a child sits at a window, chin resting on chubby little hands, nose pressed against the cold glass, waiting for a glimpse of Santa. The child’s heard time and again that Santa isn’t coming.
There’s a look of innocence and expectation, of faith and belief in a power and grace bigger than a PEI night sky you can only find in that face. And disappointing that face was never an option. It’s the reason Kenny’s in his 15th year running PEI Santa’s Angels, delivering toys, food, home necessities and hugs to children, families and seniors in need.
It started off when he and a friend, Don Wright, who’s white hair and beard made him look uncannily like St. Nick, delivered toys to underprivileged children in one Charlottetown neighbourhood. Today, Santa’s Angels has a 10-person organizing committee, 200 volunteers working throughout the year and 20 Santas and 100 volunteers on Christmas morning alone, making dreams come true for people across PEI.
Like the seniors’ home residents who wouldn’t otherwise have someone visit them all year. Or the struggling parents who couldn’t afford a holiday meal for their family. Or the 14-year-old boy who told his mom when Santa arrived at his doorstep with a sack full of gifts one Christmas morning, “See! I told you he’s real!”
Kenny lives for these moments. It’s what keeps Santa’s Angels alive. And PEI is so much the richer for it.