Shared from the 2017-12-01 Chattanooga eEdition

A Santa for all

Two local groups promoting diverse role models, offering events with black Santas

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STAFF PHOTO BY TIM BARBER

Eric Terry, Sr. is playing Santa for the first time this year.

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STAFF PHOTO BY TIM BARBER

Eric Terry Sr. is going to be Santa for the first time this year. “I’ve already got two things scheduled in the coming days,” Terry said.

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Children usually don’t see black Santas at shopping malls, but two groups are providing the option at a local church and community center.

“You might be surprised about how many parents inquire about a black Santa in the black community,” says Chandra Wilson, chairwoman of the 2017 Delta Marketplace.

Wilson and members of the Chattanooga Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta are bringing a black Santa to the 2017 Delta Marketplace at Greater Tucker Baptist Church from 10 a.m to 5 p.m. Saturday.

The Greater Chattanooga Chapter of Jack and Jill of America will host a Soulful Breakfast with Santa from 9 to 11 a.m. Dec. 16 at the North River Civic Center near Northgate Mall.

Mall of America, the largest mall in the country, hired retired Army Capt. Larry Jefferson as its first black Santa in 2016. He was booked with appointments from black and white families during the 2016 holiday season.

Ambassadors of peace and goodwill aren’t bound by race or age, says Eric Terry, an associate minister at Empowerment Church.

Terry is Santa at the 2017 Delta Marketplace and wants to give good tidings not only to children but also adults.

“It’s going to bring smiles to some adults who may have had a rough year,” says Terry. “Hopefully this will bring a little joy to lift them up.”

He will be among nearly two dozen black entrepreneurs who will be selling custom jewelry, custom-made goods, African artifacts, clothes and services at the marketplace.

Admission is $5 for adults. It’s free for children 12 and younger. Proceeds benefit the Delta’s projects and scholarship fund.

Two weeks after the marketplace, the Chattanooga Chapter of Jack and Jill of America invites children and parents to have a soulful chicken-and-waffle breakfast with another black Santa.

The fee is $25 per person. The money supports the group’s outreach at the Boys and Girls Clubs. So far, the organization has hosted fall and winter festivals, a graduation event and given electronic tablets to the youth.

The breakfast includes an opportunity to write letters to Santa, games and dancing.

“We want to make sure the children have experiences that are unique to them,” says Marsha Drake of Jack and Jill. “And put as many role models and ideas of African-American people of color in front of our children.”

Contact Yolanda

Putman at yputman@

timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6431.

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