Dozens of mothers and children from Milwaukee Rescue Mission's Joy Househomeless shelter enjoyed a special holiday event at Assurant Health on Dec. 23.

Santa stopped by to lift the holiday spirits of girls and boys from Milwaukee Rescue Mission’s Joy House at a luncheon hosted by Assurant Health on Monday, Dec. 23.

As Santa walked in the room, the children dropped their forks and looked at him with amazement. Soon, the room broke out into applause, smiles and tears of joy.

“It was the cutest thing!” said Lauren Vagnini, volunteer and senior communications specialist for Assurant Health. “The kids were going about their business, eating their chicken nuggets, and as soon as Santa came in they started clapping and crying.”

Santa greeted the families with presents for all the moms and children, who took turns sitting on Santa’s lap. Framed photos preserved the memories as an extra holiday gift.  

A mom and her baby from Milwaukee Rescue Mission’s Joy House get into the holiday spirit at an event hosted by Assurant Health on Monday, Dec. 23.
Assurant Health employee John Roots went above and beyond in his role as Santa. Along with other employee “elves” who wrapped presents, Santa John stayed well past lunch to play with the kids and join in on some arts and crafts. 

“These kids don’t have the opportunity to see Santa, so it was great that we could deliver our version of the North Pole to them,” said Santa John. “We really enjoyed visiting with the children and seeing their happy faces.”

Assurant Health organizes donation drives and employee volunteer events in support of Milwaukee Rescue Mission throughout the year. Assurant Health recently provided a $50,000 grant to Joy House through its charitable arm, the Assurant Foundation

View more photos of the event at the Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel.