A $500 donation to the Community Santa Campaign made Carol McMillin’s day and earned Les Wolpers a hug.
Wolpers, president of the Sedalia Lions Club, wandered into the campaign’s Santa House in the State Fair Shopping Center on Tuesday afternoon to inquire about making the donation.
“I can’t even begin to tell you what a load this takes off my mind,” said McMillin, campaign chairwoman. “I can make $500 go a really long way.”
The Community Santa Campaign provides Christmas meal food certificates for families, elderly and disabled and gifts for children in Pettis County.
Monetary donations are among the campaigns greatest need this year. The money is used to provide food certificates and buy gift cards for older children.
The need is greater this Christmas than last year. The application period closed Tuesday with about 100 more households than in 2008.
“Now what we need desperately is the money to fund it,” McMillin said.
Campaign volunteers received applications from 525 households this year compared to between 400 and 450 last year. Each application represents one household, which could include more than one family. McMillin has noticed an increase in the number of two- and three-family households.
“The homelessness situation has increased and they’re bunking in together,” McMillin said.
Groups, clubs, families and individuals are needed to adopt campaign families, elderly and disabled applicants.
The campaign received 142 applications from households of senior citizens. Elderly and disabled receive food gift certificates to help pay for a holiday meal. McMillin would like to see the elderly and disabled adopted so that they may also receive a gift, which is something the campaign is unable to provide.
McMillin expects the campaign will provide Christmas presents for more than 1,200 children in Pettis County.
Children younger than 11 receive two gifts, which are selected from a wish list submitted for each child, and teens ages 12 to 17 receive a gift card.
The Santa House is quickly beginning to fill up with new and gently-used toys. Volunteers are working to clean the used toys and organize the incoming donations. The peak of the toy drive will likely occur in the next two weeks. Some of the most requested and needed items include “Spiderman” and “Transformers” items, remote control vehicles, “Hannah Montana” items, art supplies and books for all reading levels. Every child receives a book and each family receives a game.
Most of the families will pick up their items on Dec. 11 and 12, but distribution will likely continue up until Dec. 20. The campaign also fills the request of families at the Citizens Against Spousal Abuse shelter during the week of Christmas.
Wolpers said the Lion’s Club chose to contribute to the Community Santa Campaign this year because the group didn’t do a large project this year and had extra money in its account.
“We feel we are very community oriented. We want to do things to help the community,” Wolpers said. “We just felt the economic situation of today is so tough.”
Toys can be dropped off at the Santa House, Wal-Mart, Big Lots and The Sedalia Democrat until Dec. 20. Other drop off locations will stop collections on Dec. 7 and 8.
Donations also may be mailed to P.O. Box 43, Sedalia, MO 65302.
For more information contact McMillin at 473-2408 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.