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Season of Hope: Linda Vista family plays role of Secret Santa for neighbors

Posted at 5:08 PM, Dec 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-22 10:52:35-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - With so many families feeling the financial impact of COVID-19 this year, a Linda Vista family is hoping to quietly bring some holiday cheer to neighbors by taking on the role of Secret Santa.

Jaelyn,13, Jayda, 11, and Jessica, 4, will be doing plenty of wrapping this holiday season. Their mom Rhian and her partner, Jeff Leardini, are determined to deliver some holiday cheer.

"There are so many families that are worried about how they're going to make it to tomorrow. Christmas is the last thing on their mind. We want to take that worry away," said Leardini.

Leardini posted on the Nextdoor app an offer to buy and wrap a Christmas toy for any neighbors in need, no strings attached. Leardini, a sales manager for a pet supply company, and his girlfriend, a nurse, kept their jobs during the pandemic.

"We feel very fortunate and want to help people," said Leardini.

During this holiday season, his family are now playing the part of Secret Santa.

"We just thought there are people that might be embarrassed to go to organizations, so we thought can we help them without them having to go through a lot of red tape," said Leardini.

So far, a handful of neighbors have responded to his offer

"It's been really emotional reading the messages," said Leardini.

Some are dealing with lost jobs, others with COVID-related health issues. Those families will soon receive something extra under the tree.

"Want to deliver smiles to them, even if it's just for one day. Their children will be happy, and that in turn will deliver joy to their family. That's our hope," said Leardini.

It's a big hope, but not the only one.

"My hope is that people will see my post and be inspired to help others within their own community," said Leardini.

Leardini hopes to buy and wrap several dozen gifts.

If you know of a family that could use Leardini's help, email us at