Across Maine this week, an anonymous donor is donning a Santa Suit, giving out one-hundred-dollar bills to people at food pantries.
"They never know where I'll be, or when I'll be there," said the Secret Santa. "I just want to show up and really spread the spirit of Christmas to these people."
The mystery man made stops at food pantries in Naples and Bridgton Tuesday morning and plans to have several more surprises in the days leading up to Christmas. He gives out his own money and plans to distribute $20,000 this year.
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"It's got to come from the bottom of his heart," said Jason Ditucci, who received $100 at the Bridgton food pantry Tuesday. "To give your own money to total strangers, it just shows the love in your heart."
This "Secret Santa of Maine" was inspired by the "Secret Santa of Portland," an anonymous man who also wore a Santa Suit and gave out $100 bills in the Portland area for eight years.
This year, that Secret Santa posted to Facebook that he was "retiring," but a new group was going to fill his shoes. A husband and wife team, who want to remain anonymous, are taking over and keeping the tradition alive.
"It just does my heart good," said the new Secret Santa.
Some people at the food pantries said they planned to use the money for heating oil, prescriptions, or stocking stuffers for Christmas. One woman said her partner just lost his job, and this money will help them get through a tough time. One man said he came to the food pantry Tuesday on a near-empty gas tank, and the money will help him get home.
"I hope he knows how much of a difference he makes," said Debra Lippincott, at the Bridgton food pantry. "This is a Merry Christmas for all of us."