Ex-gang member spreads Christmas cheer in Senoia - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

Ex-gang member spreads Christmas cheer in Senoia

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SENOIA, Ga. -

A former gang member who turned his life around helped Santa Claus spread Christmas cheer to children of a Senoia neighborhood on Monday.

Using a golf cart instead of a sleigh, Santa gave kids the presents they'd asked for.

For most of these families, there might not have been gifts under the tree this year without Santa's helpers.

"This Christmas would have been really hard without him coming by," said Kristy Phelps.

"It just makes me happy in my heart to know that all these children got presents," said Kimberly Gaillard.

No child was as excited by Santa's visit as 4-year-old Brendan, who has been known to wear his Santa suit in July.

"I just like him so much. It fits in his pack  -- every present," said Brendan.

Joseph Jennings, a former gang member-turned community activist, made the visit possible.

"Well, Santa never came to my hood. He never showed up; I never got gifts as a kid," said Jennings.

So he wanted to make sure these Senoia children saw Santa and had presents under the tree on Christmas morning.

"There is hope -- we've got to let them know that there are people that care," said Jennings.

And that's why for Brendan, there's no bigger hero.

"He goes down chimneys. His reindeer fly and his elves make toys and that's why I like him so much," said Brendan.

Jennings raised the money for the presents through word of mouth among friends. He says he delivered presents to 26 children in honor of the 26 children who lost their lives in the Newtown shooting.

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