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Whitehorse's 'Garbage Truck Santa' fundraising $10K to fix up new truck

A Whitehorse man known as Garbage Truck Santa is fundraising to fix up his new truck in time his annual rounds in December.

Wayne Henderson says the new truck needs a new transmission

Wayne Henderson is known as "Garbage Truck Santa." (Steve Silva/CBC)

A Whitehorse man known as "Garbage Truck Santa" is fundraising to fix up his new truck in time his annual rounds, including school visits, in December.

"I love giving back to the city," Wayne Henderson said on Friday. "I'll hand out 3,000 candy canes in four days."

The tradition started in 1991. A boy in the city's Riverdale neighbourhood would wait for him to arrive with his standard garbage truck, Henderson recounted.

Eventually, Henderson was inspired to don a Santa Claus get-up while picking up garbage.

His yuletide enthusiasm escalated, and he eventually added many strips of Christmas lights to the truck.

"One lady said to me one time, 'It was like riding with the Pope. Everybody's just waving at me,'" Henderson said of the truck-riding experience.

He's used different trucks over the years. He bought his new one for $1 in the summer from a local company, but the transmission needs to be replaced.

A previously used truck for Wayne Henderson's Christmas festivities. (Facebook)

Including costs for other necessary work, Henderson said he's facing a price tag of up to $20,000.

Local companies are stepping in, donating labour and other things, he said, so he only needs about $10,000.

The fundraising campaign launched on Thursday. As of Friday afternoon, nearly $1,400 had been raised online, including $500 from him.

Henderson said he hopes to raise enough money by the end of October to get the truck ready in time.

"I love doing it because, once I'm behind the Santa suit, I'm a whole different person," he said. "I want to keep doing this for as long as I can."

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