I have shewed you all things, how that so laboring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.” – Acts 20:35
And from such biblical beliefs — and from an overwhelming and indescribable gratitude toward the soldiers overseas in service to this country — Operation Santa was born in 2011 out of Illinois. Since its inception, nearly 200,000 Christmas stockings have been sent troops from all branches of the United States Armed Forces serving around the globe, Combat Support Hospitals and K-9 units, with priority given to troops deployed to war zones, thanks to devoted volunteers from all 50 states.
Though Operation Santa is a fairly new program embraced by volunteers and church organizations across the country, the spirit of it is nothing new in Appanoose County. The Appanoose County Human Services Planning Council began a similar initiative on a limited basis, coordinated by the Appanoose County Nursing Office in May of 1983.
In Appanoose County, it’s about helping thy neighbor in dire times of needs. In fact, Operation Santa had applications from 197 families in Appanoose County with a total of 445 children in need of gifts this Christmas. From the smallest gestures, such as: one’s time and labor — volunteers filled out hundreds of mittens for the trees around town; one’s donations — area churches like the Faith United Methodist Church of Centerville collecting lightly-used or new coats for children, teens and adults free of charge, and one’s hard-earned money.
Many monetary donations have come from area businesses and individuals this year. Recently the program received a generous gift from Dave Welder of NAI Electrical Contractors in the amount of $1,843.75, which is a real example of the charitable efforts that makes Operation Santa possible for the children in need in Appanoose County. The program requires about $10,000 to operate each year, which is used for gifts, food, blankets, etc. All proceeds that are raised are kept and used in Appanoose County, and donations are tax-deductible.
Due to the economy and significant shipping expense, funds are the program’s greatest need and can be sent to Operation Santa by any individual, group or business to: Operation Santa, P.O. Box 161, Centerville, IA 52544.
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