South Georgia Santa on 81st trek to St. Jude's Hospital - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

South Georgia Santa on 81st trek to St. Jude's Hospital

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July 20, 2003

ALBANY - Calendars read July and outside thermometers show temperatures nowhere close to December chills. But, Christmas is coming early to patients at St. Jude's hospital thanks to a popular South Georgia Santa.

Joe Farris of Pelham loaded up an R.V. today with more than 2,000 toys to distribute to patients at the world's best children's hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. He also has a $2,000 donation to present for research purposes.

Farris and his 'elves' gather donations twice a year from South Georgia to take to the sometimes terminally ill children.

"They hug my neck and tell me they love me," Farris said. "It's all worth-while when you get a hug and a smile from a child with cancer or leukemia."

Sunday's trip marked the eighty-first time Farris and company has driven to St. Jude's. One of his 'elves' tried to get him to fly a private jet but he declined for fear of flying.

Still, he says as long as the road is open, Santa will be there for the children who may not otherwise have anything to look forward to.

posted at 3:42 by mathew.palmer@walb.com