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Did You Know Santa Claus Lives in La Verne? Just Ask Rodney Allen Rippy … by Larry Stewart

July 23, 2013
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Sowing Seeds for Life Founder Vicki Brown with the jolly red and white Santa Claus man, aka James Scott.

Sowing Seeds for Life Founder Vicki Brown with the jolly red and white Santa Claus man, aka James Scott.

When I first met James Scott he approached and announced, “I’m Santa Claus.”

I knew exactly what he meant. For the past three years or so, Scott and I have been heavily involved with Sowing Seeds for Life, the charitable organization founded by Glendora resident Vicki Brown in 2007.

Sowing Seeds, a regional food bank that provides food and services to some 6,000 people per month in the East San Gabriel, holds two major food and toy giveaways in December. At these events, Scott wears a Santa suit and poses for photographs with children.

Scott, in real life, is also like Santa Claus. He’s all about giving.rodney-allen-rippy-3001

Scott, who lives in La Verne, recently told me he was a drug addict for 25 years. “Sowing Seeds for Life literally saved my life,” he said with tears in his eyes.

He has been celebrating his sobriety for five years, doing whatever he can to help others in need.

This week he is immersed in two upcoming fundraisers to be held at Covina Park at 301 N. 4th Ave. in Covina. The events are part of the Covina Parks and Recreation Department’s summer night music series.

The first is Wednesday night from 7:15 to 9 p.m. It is a Christian music show, “Freedom Reigns: a Concert for Life Recovery,” featuring the Foothill Vineyard Worship Band and, as special guests, the touring Mwamba Children’s Choir from Uganda. There is no admission charge.

Coming up on Saturday from 5:30 to 9 p.m. is an event very close to Scott’s heart, the “Oldies Night 3” concert and car show, which benefits two local church food pantries. This show is being put on by Scott and Covina City Councilman John King and features four groups – Chico’s Bail Bonds blue rock band, Charlie Ray and Linda Washington, Better Than Blue, and The California Sun.

The concert is free, but there is a $10 fee for those who wish to enter a hot rod or custom car in the car show, which takes place at the same time. And all attendees are encouraged to bring nonperishable food or personal care items to donate. Cash donations are also welcome, Scott emphasized, and there will be a raffle and silent auction to raise money to operate the food pantries.

The emcee for the show will be former child actor Rodney Allen Rippy, famous for his Jack-in-the-Box commercials in the 1970s. Scott met Rippy through Sowing Seeds for Life.

A relaxed Santa before loading up the sled.

A relaxed Santa before loading up the sled.

This is the third annual edition of the “Oldies Night” show.

It started out as a reunion of a surf music band consisting of five friends from South Hills High. Scott and King are two of the original members of what is now known as the California Sun.

Those two worked on putting together a reunion concert to help the First Presbyterian Church of Covina and the Foothill Vineyard Church of San Dimas better serve people in need.

It was supposed to be one show. Now it appears it will be an annual event.

For further information, call the Covina Parks and Recreation Department at 626 384-5340.

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