A cover of “Last Christmas” sounded from an apartment with the door wide open when Madison Chiusano, 6, and Olivia Chiusano, 3, approached with red stockings.
“We have a present for you,” Madison applauded as a man stepped out wearing an elf hat and a red shirt emblazoned with a picture of Santa Claus and the word “Believe”.
Kevin Tassos gave a big smile saying: “I know Santa Claus is coming to see you because I am one of his helpers!”
Tassos rocked the mini bells wrapped around his neck as he introduced himself as “Mister Jingles”.
Tassos is one of the residents of Lee Haven Towers who was surprised with the padded stockings for Christmas on Wednesday.
Leechburg resident Denise Griffith walked with her mother, Susan Underwood, and three children, Madison, Olivia and Matteo Chiusano, to gift stockings to 11 residents. Their friend Marysue Milliman helped push a cart labeled “Santa’s Rack” which was full of stockings.
Griffith wanted to find a way for his children to bring holiday cheer to others. She chose Lee Haven Towers after what she learned about the residents’ plight for the season.
“Many residents do not have families or their families are far away,” she said.
Resident Sue Robinson smiled and hugged her stockings as the girls said “Merry Christmas” to her.
“It was just wonderful to see them at the gate,” said Robinson.
It was the first year the kids had done anything for Christmas. Madison suggested the trio of stockings. Griffith said workers at a pharmacy near their home had helped donate stocking items.
The stockings were filled with playing cards, search words, candy, hand sanitizer, homemade ornaments and more.
Pamela Garner, another resident, said she was impressed when she was surprised by a stocking.
“It makes me so happy. I will probably cry,” she said.
Surprise was one of the many ways children spread kindness in the city.
Griffith said she had thought about how her children could do community participation initiatives since they are homeschooled. The idea “The Kindness Kids” was born after Valentine’s Day in 2019, when Madison learned that not everyone receives Valentine’s Day for Love Day.
“She asked, ‘Why not? Everyone deserves love. From there we progressed, ”Griffith said.
Children spread kindness several times during the year. They gave eggs full of toys for Easter. On September 11, children gave platters of cookies to the town’s police and firefighters. Colors of Kindness pencils were distributed for Leechburg’s annual Pink Day.
The kids plan to do something special for St. Patrick’s Day by making colorful rocks with kind words on them, Griffith said.
Madison eagerly awaits people’s reactions to children’s acts of kindness.
“I love when people smile,” Madison said.