Ben “Santa” Cohen brought Christmas cheer to kids at Ecole Martha Currie in Cloverdale Dec. 4.
His first gig of the 2020 season was out in front of the school at the crosswalk wishing everyone a socially-distanced Merry Christmas.
“I really enjoyed it,” Cohen said. “I always enjoy bringing smiles to kids.”
It’s been more than a year since Santa Cohen received free dental work to repair his own smile.
He said it’s really helped him with his confidence and lowered the anxiety he’d feel when he’d don his Santa suit in an effort to bring joy and Christmas cheer to all.
“It’s been quite a nice change to have the confidence to smile,” the Cloverdale resident said. “I’ve got my laugh back too…. And especially for Santa, which is nice. I so appreciate what they did for me.”
The “they” Santa Cohen refers to are Wendy Gaudet, director of City Care Dental, and Loretta Hibbs, president and founder City Dream Centre.
In September, 2019, City Care Dental partnered with City Dream Centre to host free dental clinics. The particular clinic in which Cohen received dental work was held in the parking lot of Pacific Community Church and was sponsored by the Cloverdale Community Kitchen and former Surrey-Cloverdale MLA Marvin Hunt.
Cohen, a flagger and a Christmastime Santa, was being turned down for Santa gigs at the time when potential clients found out he was missing teeth. But after the free dental work, he had an unprecedented amount of gigs in the lead up to Christmas last year.
He said he’ll most likely have more gigs this year than last (his best year to date). Because of COVID, of course, most of the work will be online gigs.
“I’m doing 20 to 30 videos a day,” he said. “I’m so busy, it’s almost hard to keep up.”
Cohen said his gig windfall will also help out local charities. He said he’s donating 50 per cent of everything he makes to the Fraser Valley Regional Food Bank and to the Surrey Food Bank.
After Ecole Martha Currie, Cohen was off to tape a reading of The Night Before Christmas for a group of children in the U.S.
He said his last gig so far, is on Christmas Eve.
Cohen can be booked via firstname.lastname@example.org.