Santa’s Workshop in Sedalia has already been busy, but Community Santa organizers are expecting to be even busier the next few days as the registration deadline quickly approaches.
Pettis County families in need have until Friday to sign up to receive gifts and food through Community Santa. In between organizing applications and toys Monday morning at the Workshop, Carol McMillin said she expects the volunteers to stay busy all week.
“We’ve been busy and this week is always by far the busiest,” she said. “… We’ve had a lot of applicants — probably around 300 families so far but it will be likely we’ll get another 300 this week.”
Families should bring proof of Pettis County residency, a Social Security card for each child they’re applying for, and information about all income they receive, such as from a job, SNAP benefits or other financial aid.
“It’s a very fast process, it doesn’t take very long to do,” McMillin noted.
Parents will be asked to list some of their children’s favorites so volunteers can make the best match geared toward each individual child. In addition to the children’s requested gifts, each child will receive two new books, a stuffed animal, and each family will receive at least one board game to play as a family.
“We try to do things to build family connections, family rapport,” McMillin said of the gift choices. “We also don’t give electronics. All the toys are hands-on play, like cars and trucks, dolls, craft kits and athletic equipment.”
The family will also receive the start of a holiday meal, either a basket of nonperishable food, a gift certificate to get groceries or a combination. Elderly or disabled citizens can also apply to receive help with a holiday meal.
“Cash donations have been a little light this year so we would really like to see that beef up. Last year we had 1,365 kids, so we’re not anticipating that number being any smaller,” McMillin said. “We can definitely use donations. This community has always been so good and they’ve always made it happen for these kids and we’re just hoping to see that happen again.”
Community Santa is also looking for individuals, groups, families or businesses to adopt a family, or donors can also contribute to Dale Malone’s annual bike drive.
“For $35, you can see to it that a child gets that first bike, which is a huge deal, especially if you get your first bike at Christmas, that’s just something that’s not forgettable,” McMillin said.
Events are being hosted by various organizations and businesses to support Community Santa. This week area car dealerships will host Stuff the Truck, including an appearance from Santa Claus himself from 2 to 5 p.m. today at Bryant Motors, Wednesday at W-K Chevrolet, Thursday at McCarthy Toyota and Friday at Rick Ball Ford. On Monday, Santa visited Williams Woody Nissan. For a monetary or toy donation to Community Santa, children can have their photo taken with Santa.
Children can also take a photo with Santa for a donation from 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday at the State Fair Community College craft show. Jennings Arena is donating 10 percent of all farrier work through Wednesday to the organization.
KDRO will once again be at the Thompson Hills Shopping Center from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday collecting donations, and KXKX will be at State Fair Shopping Center on Monday.
Applicants can stop by Santa’s Workshop, located on the back side of the State Fair Shopping Center, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Donations can be dropped off at any toy donation site or at the workshop, and monetary donations can also be mailed to PO Box 43, Sedalia, Mo., 65302-0043. For more information, call 660-473-2408 or find Pettis County Community Santa on Facebook.
Nicole Cooke can be reached at 660-530-0138 or on Twitter @NicoleRCooke.