Yatooma For The Kid’s Foundation – Clinton Township family gets surprise visit from Santa Claus

Saturday Yatooma For The Kid’s Foundation arrived in a big truck filled with five big boxes that were set up in the front yard for the youngsters to devour.

Santa Claus and a crew of elves surprised Frank Marchesi and his five children Saturday with a slew of gifts, including bicycles for each child, a sled and a TV for dad, at their home near 15 Mile and Little Mack.

A handful of Yatooma volunteers sang Christmas carols while the children opened their gifts.

Marchesi and the children had gathered in their home with Marchesi’s two sisters in a ruse that he was going somewhere to read Christmas stories to children. He and the kids didn’t know Santa was on his way five days early.

“I was shocked. I did not expect this,” Marchesi said.

With tears streaming down his cheeks in-between lots of hugs, he told the crowd: “Thank-you to everybody. This means so much to me and my family. Words can’t express.”

The Marchesi’s were one of three homes the Yatooma group visited Saturday. The others were located in Detroit.

The Marchesi family has been struggling lately as the children’s mother, Dawn, died suddenly in July and their grandfather, Frank’s father with the same name, died last January. The couple was divorced, and the children split time between their two parents’ homes.

“It’s been a rough year,” Marchesi said. “We’re going through grief counseling. Putting a smile on their faces is all that matters. They’re excited.”

“The children have been having a rough time so this will really bring up their spirits,” said Laurie Sterrett, the mail carrier for the Marchesi’s who has gotten to know the family. “I knew it was going to be big but I didn’t think it was gong to be this going to be this huge.

“I think’s awesome. They are wonderful children. They’re not video-game kids. They love going on field trips. They like the DIA (Detroit Institute of Arts), nature, the science center … educational things.”

The children have been talking about how they’re going to handle the first holiday season without their mom and one of their grandfathers, the family said.

Yatooma told Marchesi, “I hope it will help distract them from their Christmas without mom. Hopefully in 20 years from now they remember not only the loss but remember this, too.”

The children include Hannah, 12; Thomas, 10; Anthony and Nathan, both 7; and Josephine, 6.

Coincidentally, Nathan turned 7 on Saturday.

“At first I thought it was for Nathan’s birthday,” Thomas said. “I told him (his dad), ‘I wish it was my birthday.’ Then I seen the boxes.”

Marchesi, 45, a Madison Heights native, is a 21-year employee of the U.S. Postal Service, working at a distribution center in Pontiac. He has worked occasionally as a “roadie” for rock bands.

His sisters, Annette Marchesi and Linda Gattes, both of Madison Heights, helped set up the surprise event to help their brother.

“He was completely taken off guard,” Annette said.

“It was beautiful,” Gattes added.

The children appeared delighted with their gifts, unwrapped and admiring each one.

“I’m happy,” Hannah said. “I got everything I wanted for Christmas.”

A handful of Yatooma volunteers sang Christmas carols while the children opened their gifts.

Norman Yatooma, a Bloomfield Hills attorney, started the foundation in 2003 in memory of his father, Manuel, who died in 1993.

Recent Posts

Start typing and press Enter to search