“I couldn’t say no. There was no ‘no’ with Buddy.”
John Hossick could never say no to his husband Buddy Rabaya. He especially couldn’t say no when Buddy wanted to rally the community and give seniors a little joy during the holidays.
“The seniors, they don’t have a lot of company,” said Hossick while standing behind hundreds of small bags filled with everything from Christmas ornaments to face masks.
Hossick is the current President of the Santee Mobilehome Owners Action Committee (SMOAC). He’s also in charge of the SMOAC Elves, an idea generated by his late husband.
The SMOAC Elves would generate donations of socks, masks, ornaments, and rocks painted for the holidays, place the items in colorful bags and deliver them to lonely seniors living in mobile home parks and senior homes.
“They’re stunned. They don’t even expect it’s for them,” described Hossick. “Some people, they’re just plain happy. I’ve literally had people cry.”
“That little gesture made a difference in their whole holiday season,” said Elana Levens-Craig, one of the SMOAC Elves.
“There’s just a sense of fulfillment that you don’t expect,” added Hossick.
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Hossick also didn’t expect to be in charge of the SMOAC Elves. It was Rabaya’s idea four years ago and it has grown precipitously since. They will deliver more than 400 bags this year.
“I absolutely love it,” beamed Levens-Craig. “I feel like he’s really showing Buddy his love by continuing this.”
Hossick was thrust into the role of lead elf when a stroke took Rabaya from him earlier this year.
“We did everything together. Literally,” said Hossick with tears welling in his eyes. “And I was all the willing-participant to do whatever crazy thing he wanted us to do.”
That included rallying the community to take care of seniors during the holidays.
“Buddy touched a lot of lives,” said Hossick. “I would say the little gifts of joy, those are things that people remember.”
Hossick said the SMOAC’s primary function is to focus on rent control for 12 mobile home communities in Santee. However, under Buddy Rabaya’s leadership, the committee also started a number of charities that included gathering donated backpacks for school children.
Hossick said anyone who knows a senior who would like a bag from the SMOAC Elves can email them at SMOAC92071@gmail.com.