Shoppers still have a few weeks until Christmas, but Community Santa volunteers are in the final days of collecting items and applications, and they still need the community’s help.
Community Santa, a Pettis County nonprofit organization that coordinates gifts for children in low-income families, began accepting applications in early November and residents only have until Friday to turn one in. Director Carol McMillin said they are on par with how many they received last year, although she said they tend to get a large amount the last few days.
While Community Santa is still accepting applications, McMillin said they especially need more monetary and toy donations.
“We still need donations of money — we put food certificates in every bag and for every elderly person that’s in our program,” McMillin said by phone Wednesday as she and another volunteer were out purchasing more toys. “We definitely need funds for that, and we need both toys and funds for toys to finish shopping that needs to be done.”
Citizens can contribute monetary or toy donations by stopping by Santa’s Workshop in the State Fair Shopping Center, but they can also contribute through one of several local events benefiting Community Santa this week.
On Friday, Santa’s House will be at the Thompson Hills Shopping Center where KDRO will be collecting toys and monetary donations all day. Also on Friday, Vincent’s will host Mrs. Claus for a Cause, featuring a variety of vendors. Fifteen percent of all proceeds during the event will be donated to Community Santa.
Friday is also the last day to donate to Stuff the Truck, which has been hosted all week at W-K Chevrolet, Bryant Motor Co., Rick Ball Lincoln Ford, Williams Woody Nissan and McCarthy Toyota.
On Saturday, State Fair Community College will host its annual craft show. Santa will be available for photos with children in the lobby for a $5 or toy donation benefiting Community Santa.
“We want people to know how appreciative we are, several groups have done events for us,” McMillin said. “Several people been very generous. It’s a hard time for our people in need.”
McMillin said they need the bulk of donations to be dropped off by Monday, although she reminded citizens they can donate to Community Santa year-round, as volunteers shop all year to find toy sales.
This year, there are a few requests the volunteers are having a tough time filling.
“We’re needing board games. We give every child in the program a book and every family a board game, so we really need games and those are a little hard to come by,” McMillin said. “Mostly for the 6- to 11-year-old group we’re hurting the most on games. We could also use baby dolls for the 5- to 7-year-old group.”
Families filling out applications need to bring proof of residency in Pettis County, Social Security cards for all children in the household, income information and financial aid information. Community Santa volunteers stick to the Division of Family Services guidelines in terms of need when going through applications.
Community Santa Workshop is located on the back side of the State Fair Shopping Center behind Bings and is open 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., 65301. For more information, call 660-473-2408.
Nicole Cooke can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1482 or @NicoleRCooke.