Outside the fire shelter at the Ventura County Fairgrounds Tuesday afternoon, a handful of women in green aprons encouraged children to talk to a man dressed as Santa.
“We brought Santa to the kids to bring a little bit of cheer,” said Laura Reagan, who normally helps set up photos with Santa at the Pacific View Mall.
Coming to the Ventura County Fairgrounds was “Santa’s idea,” she said. About 300 families have registered at the shelter, according to the Red Cross. By 3 p.m., piles of donated clothes and blankets were piled onto tables for evacuees to use.
Greg Lindfors, who dressed up as Santa, said he wanted to help the children when he heard about the extensive damage from the Thomas Fire.
“I can’t help in the way firemen or the Red Cross does, but I can do this,” he said.
Most of the children he spoke with told him about the Christmas toys they wanted, he said. One boy just wanted a long hug.