In the spirit of the season, Paul "Earthquake" Moore is likely to answer to just about any name, especially when he dusts off the old costume and transforms himself into jolly old St. Nick.

Let's see. There are Santa Claus, Santa Quake, Santa Black.

But the moniker that really hypes up Moore, gets him in character and gives him the energy to spread one more round of good cheer when folks truly need it, is the one he came up with himself: Community Claus.

"I have created and changed the perspective of Santa Claus," he says, "because I go to places where other Clauses don't go. You know that James Brown song 'Santa Claus Go Straight to the Ghetto'? That's me. . . . I'm the Mayor of Blessings."

Another nickname?

Well, as long as they fit. And one thing we know for sure: Moore could never, ever be mistaken for Scrooge.

For as long as anybody can remember, Moore, 52 - or 'Quake, as he's known during the eight months he's not dressed as Community Claus - has given of himself and his resources to help the less fortunate in Philadelphia.

And not just at Christmastime.

It's not as if he has deep pockets. He drives a sanitation truck for the city, to pay his own bills but mostly to help pay for the needs of others.

Go to any part of Philly where there's a need, and chances are you'll see Moore, scaring people into paying attention by leading an antiviolence march, complete with "bodies" made up to look like corpses, or holding anticrime vigils, or conducting some kind of charitable fund-raiser for his boot camp, his basketball league, or his holiday brainstorm, the "Share the Joy, Bring a Toy" campaign.

Moore is mostly known as the organizer of his annual Turkey Run down South Broad Street, which raises money for needy families.

Oh, and he doesn't let distance stop him from doing good. On active duty in Germany during Operation Enduring Freedom five years ago, Moore organized reservists into turkey-trotting together to raise $600 to send to families back home.

"I called it my 'Spirit From Afar' campaign," he says.

The man does have a knack for names.

Tragedy to inspiration

If he wasn't doing something to help, 'Quake wouldn't be 'Quake.

One of 11 children who grew up poor and fatherless in Grays Ferry, Moore was moved to act when his boyhood friend Jeffrey died of hypothermia when he was 7.

"He froze to death in his house because they didn't have no heat," he says. "That was a traumatic experience right there. . . . I felt guilty because I let my friend down."

Since then, he's volunteered around the clock. Still, Christmas is his favorite time.

"There's something about Claus that breaks the spirit of hate this time of year," Moore says, no doubt intimately aware of the roly-poly man's power. "You can use Santa Claus as a catalyst to get things done."

He tells me to meet him down at the Wilson Park projects in South Philly, where he'll be passing out teddy bears, candy canes, and joy until he runs out.

Should I look for a man in a Santa outfit, embellished with pillow and fluffy white beard?

"You ain't seen me," he says with a laugh. "I don't need no pillow."

Santa's here

"Santa Claus! There's Santa!"

"Ho, ho, ho!" Moore roars.

He's right. He doesn't need a pillow. Moore is 60 pounds and change heavier than he was when he boxed professionally as a journeyman welterweight and junior middleweight in the late '70s and early '80s, having sparred with the likes of Sugar Ray Leonard and Roberto Duran.

No matter. Who'd believe a skinny Community Claus?

So here Moore is, along with his yuletide sidekick, Thomas Chamberlain ("The Oversized Elf"), going from the Boys and Girls Club of Wilson Park into the housing complex's breezeway, passing out goodies to kids and adults alike.

Charmella Graham couldn't wait for Community Claus to take a picture with her children, Misha, 4, Ibn, 2, and Sharif, 8 months

"I rushed to pick them up from day care so I could get here," Graham says. "It was very important because I still love Santa, and it's good for the kids. I still believe, so I want them to."

She looks at Moore. "Thank you, Santa, for making my day."

Which is all 'Quake needs to put a smile on his face and extra pep in his step. Christmas can be taxing. He guesses he's already visited a dozen venues, and there's still a whole week left.

His biggest give will be on Christmas Eve, when Moore will don the red costume again and he and wife Crystal will deliver new toys to 10 specially selected families who benefited from his "Share the Joy, Bring a Toy" campaign.

I tell Community Claus I admire his benevolence.

"Then make a donation," he says. "Christmas ain't here yet."

Annette John-Hall: To Donate