ST. LOUIS — The holidays are here, but they’re not happy times for everyone.
There are thousands of people in the St. Louis area who won’t have a merry Christmas because they don’t have the means.
Rita Swiener is trying to help as many as she can though. Cee Kay Supply company in St Louis gives her warehouse space for free.
“Santa’s helpers, this is Rita,” she can be heard while taking a call.
The warehouse is where she helps give the jolly man at the North Pole a helping hand.
“Santa’s really busy. We’re Santa’s helpers,” said Rita.
The work keeps her busy.
“I usually do here 12,000 steps,” she said.
Rita has been moving at this pace for more than five decades now.
“This is my 51st year.”
Nothing can slow her down.
Rita refuses to stop because the mission that she is on is important to her.
“The homeless kids don’t have anything.”
She’s bringing joy to the less fortunate boys and girls here in St Louis.
She knows firsthand what it is like to go without.
“I was born in the slums of Pittsburgh. So, I know what it’s like to not have anything. And I spent time in an orphanage,” she said.
Rita helps others celebrate Christmas even though she doesn’t celebrate the day herself. She’s Jewish.
“So, I don’t mind being here Christmas Eve or Christmas Day,” she laughed.
But her compassion knows no religion.
“My father was very much into charity and giving. So, it was something I was raised with by my adopted father.”
Sadly, Rita doesn’t see a time when Santa’s Helpers won’t be needed.
“That’s not going to happen. No, we have so many homeless families. We have more homeless families this year than what we’ve had before.”
But so long as there is a child in need and Rita is able, she vows to be there.
“We have to take care of each other’s humanity. We can’t just look out for ourselves.”
If you would like to help Rita and volunteer to be a Santa Helper just call them at 314-647-1800.
MORE LOCAL NEWS
- First look inside the St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station
- ‘Laila: The Next Season’ documentary debuts this weekend
- St. Louis County officer who won discrimination lawsuit to head new diversity inclusion unit
- Baby born on 12/12 at 12:12 a.m. in O'Fallon, Illinois
- 'It was a miracle' | Local 4-year-old boy overcomes spinal cord tumor