Local business helping broke Santa

Santa (Jack Bailey) delivering toys to a Hannibal family after losing everything in a fire in 2009.

UPDATED: March 30 at 10:59 a.m.

Last week we told you how a local business Midwest Grocers Supply came forward to help the Tri-State Santa Jack Bailey.

Shortly after contacting us at KHQA, Tim Muehring, owner of Midwest Grocers Supply in Quincy took care of the overdue phone and electric bills Bailey had been unable to pay. Midwest Grocers Supply makes and distributes products like Red Cactus Salsa, Lickin's Barbeque, and Crawdad's Classic Flavorings as well as other numerous brands.

Bailey's phone was turned back on and he contacted us here at KHQA thankful for their help.

Bailey said, "I can breath again . It was a Godsend."

Steven Lehenbauer, Owner of Red Cactus Salsa said, "We're excited to be helping Santa out of the predicament he was in. and having him back on the road to making toys and helping make kids happy."

But like the North Pole, work has to be done year round to help Santa's workshop collect enough toys for all the children who won't have a Christmas gift without him.

Bailey said, "I'm collecting toys now mainly because its going to take until the end of the year to get enough. The numbers I had for last year were big. I had 35 hundred children and the numbers are going to be larger than last year."

That's why folks at Midwest Grocers supply decided their work wasn't done.

Now the food distributors are kicking off a year-round effort to collect toys and money so this Santa can keep his sleigh full and moving.

Now Midwest Grocers Supply is planning an event this weekend to keep operations going at Santa's Workshop; and they need your support. You're asked to participate in a rib cookout this Saturday, April 2 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Quincy County Markets on 24th and Spring as well as 48th and Broadway.

Racks of ribs will be for sale during the event and you can sample Red Cactus Salsa, Lickin's Barbeque, and Crawdad's Classic Flavorings.

During the cookout, Santa himself, Jack Bailey, will be on hand to collect new and gently used toys for distribution. He will be at the County Market on 48th and Broadway from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and then he will be at the County Market on 24th and Spring for the rest of the event from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Anyone who brings in a toy will get a free hotdog.


Original Story: March 21

A Tri-State business is stepping forward to help a local Santa get out of the poor house.

You'll recall last week we brought you the story of Jack Bailey . He builds, collects and refurbishes toys to put Christmas under the tree for thousands of area children. Last year's tough economic times meant more toys and fuel were needed to put Christmas under the tree for mroe than three thousand kids. That's when Bailey dug into his social security check and sold some possessions to pay for it. But now that good deed caught up with him, in the form of unpaid bills putting him on the verge of financial disaster.

As of Monday, his phone has been turned off and his power is next.

But when things looked the darkest to this Santa, his story moved a local business to help. Folks at Midwest Grocers Supply in Quincy heard about the Tri-State Santa and have decided to help him with his outstanding bills.

Midwest Grocers Supply makes and distributes products like Red Cactus Salsa, Lickin's Barbeque, and Crawdad's Classic Flavorings as well as other numerous brands.

Bailey's story tugged at the heartstrings of Tim Muehring, owner of Midwest Grocers Supply in Quincy.

Muehring said, "He was more worried about the children than he was himself. He knew he was in a predicament. I was motivated the very next morning to help."

Steven Lehenbauer, owner of Red Cactus Salsa said, "I came in the morning and the owner of Midwest grocer showed me the story. It was a very heartfelt story. I know when Tim was telling me about it, he was almost teary eyed when he talked about the kids and the toys."

That's when Midwest Grocers contacted us here at KHQA. Now the company plans to pay Bailey's outstanding bills that have slowed operations at Santa's workshop. But that's not all, the distributor and its suppliers plan special fund raisers all year long to help keep Santa's Workshop humming.

Midwest Grocers Supply is no stranger to supporting local charities. True to its local flavor, it's traditionally helped local efforts like First Tee. And just recently representatives from Midwest Grocer's product lines began a foundation called the Growing Tree to help projects in the Tri-States. Now Santa's Workshop is first on its list. The Faith-based business has scripture on all its products and says it's all about giving back.

Muehring said, "It's more than just to say the words, we have to follow it up with actions. We want people to know that when they support the local food products they're helping their own community."

Midwest Grocers Supply *is* counting on your help to support the workshop. It's planning the first fundraiser coook-out for Santa's workshop sometime in April.

We'll keep you informed as the details become available.

Since Bailey's phone was turned off Monday, we couldn't reach him for his comment, but when we told him about the possibility of help last week he was so moved he was in tears when we hung up the phone.

Bailey did leave a message with KHQA saying he wasn't going to let this get him down. He plans to continue Santa's workshop until he loses everything to keep children smiling.

You can still contact him by mail:

RR1 Box 186

Browning , Ill. 62624