DEARBORN HEIGHTS — A 19-year-old EMT from Dearborn Heights is donating his time and money to ensure no child in the community goes without a Christmas.
Kenneth Isaacson knows all too well what it’s like to spend the holidays alone.
Born in Perm, Russia, Isaacson spent his first 14 months of life in a state-run orphanage before being adopted and brought to America. Then at age 15, Isaacson entered into the Michigan Foster Care System.
“I was an orphan and in foster care and I had no one to spend Christmas with,” he said. “I had no relatives or anything to spend the holidays with and I don’t want other children to experience that.”
Being an EMT in the firefighter program at Schoolcraft College, Isaacson has devoted his life to helping those in need.
“I save people’s lives all day,” he said. “I have always wanted to help people.”
In 2018, Isaacson decided to start helping kids at Christmas time at the group home in Albion he was staying at.
“I was working at Taco Bell at the time and I went to the dollar store and just bought what I could,” he said. “So on Christmas morning, I was at a homeless shelter playing cards and went to a hospital to read to kids and deliver some toys.”
In 2019, Kid Santa struck again in Kalamazoo, where Isaacson bought and delivered toys to Bronson’s Children’s Hospital on Christmas morning.
This year, however, Isaacson said is bigger than ever before.
“I have five families in Dearborn, 40 families in Dearborn Heights and six families from surrounding communities that I am helping provide Christmas gifts for this year,” he said. “We have over 60 houses and a foster home requesting aid so far this year and we already have about 300 kids that we are shopping for.”
Isaacson dedicates an entire day of work a week for this project.
“I work a full extra day a week and the earnings from that full day are given straight to this,” he said. “We also have a GoFundMe page and we have support of small businesses and local donations, which helps a lot, too. We have a $50 ‘wish’ per child and we are sure to get exactly what that wish is.”
While cash gifts are not offered, Isaacson said that he wants to help as many people as possible.
“We have a cutoff time of Nov. 26 at midnight and we will be delivering on Christmas Eve at sundown and we have until sunrise to complete all deliveries,” he said. “We buy for ages 0-17 in households that are struggling financially and we have removed the city limits and are not only delivering to Dearborn Heights this year.”
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Isaacson said that the Goodfellows and Salvation Army are struggling.
“A kid in need is a kid in need regardless of where they live,” he said. “Right now, we have zone leaders and volunteers to help wrap and deliver gifts.”
Isaacson also said that the program isn’t limited to just families that celebrate Christmas.
“The pandemic hasn’t discriminated and neither do I,” he said. “I support all people and all kids. I dedicate most of my life to trying to be the light in someone’s darkest days. I don’t know you, but I do care about you.”
If you are a family in need that meets the criteria text KID SANTA to “517-494-0166.”
Donations can be submitted through Isaacson’s GoFundMe page at https://www.gofundme.com/f/kid-santa-of-metro-detroit or Isaacson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.