A longtime El Reno Santa and Mrs. Claus are offering assistance to laid off Halliburton employees this holiday season.
Nancy and Larry Salsman have played the Christmas duo for the last 25 years and now operate an annual gift shop, providing gifts to parents free of charge.
They said over that time working as Santa and Mrs. Claus, they noticed a heartbreaking trend.
“Never in all of my life would I have expected a child to climb up on Santa’s lap, and instead of asking for toys, ask for blankets or pajamas or socks,” Nancy Salsman said.
They never charged for appearances, but instead began asking for gift or clothing donations for the less fortunate.
This last year was the pair’s final holiday season after Nancy Salsman suffered a shoulder injury from lifting children. However, they want to continue helping parents make their children’s holiday special.
They say the need this year will likely reach an all-time high.
“We need Oklahoma’s help,” Nancy Salsman said. “Especially with what hit El Reno yesterday, with over 800 people that have been laid off. We are expecting a larger crowd.”
Read More: Halliburton To Shut Down Its El Reno Location, Relocate Operations To Duncan
Nancy Salsman said they served more than 400 kids last year.
“We are a close knit community, we help each other,” she said. “That was very evident after the tornado that hit in May.”
The shopping day is set for 2 p.m. December 14 at Wesley United Methodist Church, 101 S Barker Avenue in El Reno.
They said all in need are welcome.
“We try to make sure each child gets at least three new toys, new pajamas, a blanket and sock,” she said.
With the increased demand, they have set up a GoFundMe for people who want to help provide Christmas stability for children of those impacted by the layoffs.
Related: Job Fair To Be Held For Former Halliburton Employees Affected By El Reno Closure