ALFRED — Terry Jellison was confused until he saw Benjamin Franklin’s face peeking out from the envelope’s plastic window. When he realized what had happened, he struggled to find the words.

Melissa Warren tried to hold back tears but ultimately failed.

Anthony Cole gave Santa a hug and insisted on having his picture taken.

The Secret Santa, who has been giving out $100 bills to unsuspecting recipients all over southern Maine for the past six years, struck again Monday – this time at a food pantry in Alfred.

Jellison, Warren, Cole and several others had come to the York County Shelter Programs’ pantry to get boxes of donated food ahead of the Christmas holiday. They didn’t expect a bonus.

Warren insisted she wasn’t sad; the tears were happy ones.

“I’m grateful,” she said. “It’s such a nice gesture.”

Warren has two children, ages 9 and 13, who likely will benefit from the extra $100, come Friday.

Jellison has been coming to the food pantry on and off since he was laid off in 2012. He doesn’t have immediate plans for the money but said every bit helps this time of year.

Cole said he plans to save his $100 bill. He recently was accepted into a residential rehab program to treat heroin addiction. The money will be waiting for him when he’s done.

“I know I won’t spend it on drugs and that feels pretty good,” he said.

Secret Santa spent Monday morning at two York County food pantries, one in Alfred, the other in Sanford, handing out his white envelopes.

The man, who takes care to remain anonymous, said he tries to choose different locations every year. Often, it’s places where people might least expect his presence.

Barbara Derosie, an employee of the Sanford pantry, said she had no idea when she opened the doors Monday morning that Santa would be showing up.

“Of course, I have seen him on the news the last few years and then, all of a sudden, there he was,” she said.

Santa, who said he would give out roughly $20,000 in $100 bills this year, said his favorite part of the ritual is the reaction from the recipients, which always ranges from humbled to disbelief. He never knows how the money will be used after it leaves his hands, but that’s part of the magic.

One man who came into the Sanford food pantry just to drop off an item was handed an envelope.

He told Santa, “Oh, I don’t need this.”

Santa told him: “That’s OK. Maybe you can find someone who does and pay it forward.”

The man thought about it for a moment.

“You know, I’ve got a good place to put this,” he said, then walked out the door.