Santas Without Chimneys in Madison (Transcript)

Produced by: Gretchen Christensen and Mackenzie Krumme

Flora: “Um, the rings? Each one is one homeless kid in Madison

Amy (Flora’s Mother): “So it’s a count of how many homeless kids are in Madison.”

Flora: “There are thousands and thousands and thousands-“

Amy: “A thousand and nine. But yeah.”

Flora: “Wait, we actually counted?”

Chaos: “It started with a box of toys that my aunt had given me, and some of the people there were talking to me about their children and needing some gifts, so I started to collect that, and I said, you know, there’s a lot of children falling through the cracks.”

Sara: (The first year we said) “People should donate wrapped gifts that were labeled by age and whether it was a boy or a girl. And really really really quickly we realized that that was really silly, because you call people and you ask them about their kids, and they don’t say ‘Oh, I have a nine-year-old boy, give him nine-year-old boy presents,’ they say ‘Oh, I have a nine-year-old boy and he’s really into like, My Little Pony and Minecraft, and he hates football but really likes soccer. So, you know, you have to get each kid what they really want.”

Flora: “A thousand nine homes should be cleared up because there are so many empty houses in Madison, but there are so many homeless people and I’m like, ‘Dude, why don’t you just give them the home?’ And they’re like, “Noooooo, they have to pay. And they don’t have much money because they don’t have a job, well, they might have a job, but some don’t. Most don’t, really. And I feel like trying to charge someone money they don’t have – it’s just grasping at straws to try and get rich. I think that’s wrong.”

Voice-over: “Alright, can you tell me your name?”

Santa: “Santa!”

VO: “And how long have you been doing this?”

Santa: “Uh, this is my very first year doing it with Santas Without Chimneys.”

VO: “What are you excited for?”

Santa: “Oh, just to see the looks on the kids faces.”

VO: “And these shelves are going to get full? Packed?”

Odysseus: “Oh, yeah. Yeah, it’ll be all over the place. We’ll use all of the shelf space and then more.”

Sophie: “You know, we’re getting phones calls right up on Christmas Eve, and, uh, it was just a wonderful thing that happened because everyone just kind of flooded in and started sorting things for us; organizing all the books.”

Flora: “It makes me feel good, like I’m gonna make a big difference in this world and I’m happy about it.”