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TMCNet:  Santa Campaign under way to help needy

[November 07, 2008]

Santa Campaign under way to help needy

(The Sedalia Democrat (Sedalia, MO) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Nov. 7--Santa has already come to town, even though it's well before Thanksgiving.

The Community Santa Campaign started taking applications this week for assistance and is preparing for donation collections. The campaign provides gifts and holiday meals for foster children, low-income families, elderly and disabled.

Bob Milner, chairman of the campaign, said an average of 30 families a day are signing up for help, which is about the same as last year. In 2007, the campaign helped about 640 families, including 1,200 to 1,300 children from infants to age 12.


"There is a definite need in the community," Milner said.

Families receive food certificates to Woods, Bings or Wal-Mart to buy the makings for a holiday meal. Children from infants to age 12 receive toys and those ages 13 to 16 get a gift certificate to Wal-Mart or Big Lots.

"I'm here to help the kids," Milner said. "I want to make sure these kids have a great holiday."

Families are accepted based on need, and the campaign uses federal poverty guidelines. Volunteers ask that families seek help from only one organization. Milner said agencies do compare applicants, and ask those who have applied at multiple places to pick one.

"We want to help the most people possible," Milner said.

About 30 volunteers help by taking applications and collecting toys.

The campaign is seeking donations of new or gently used toys, and money. Donations are accepted at the campaign's "Santa's Workshop" at 230 S. Ohio Ave. Bicycles can be dropped off at the Sedalia Fire Department's Central Station, 600 S. Hancock Ave. The goal is to raise $20,000 to buy the gift and grocery certificates, or buy toys needed for little ones. The campaign runs strictly on community donations. The building space was also donated, and city crews helped to fix it up.

"We urge all organizations, families, businesses and individuals to consider adopting a family," Milner said. "It allows us to do more with our funds. ... The more adoptions we can get, the better."

People can adopt families until Dec. 5.

Sedalia Mayor Bob Wasson is a supporter of the Christmas charity, which started as a Mayor's Santa Campaign more than 25 years ago. Wasson said he believes the campaign is a good cause focused on a basic need of helping children and elderly.

"I'm glad that we have this mechanism in place to help families," he said.

Milner said he expected the campaign to help 650 to 700 families this year.

"I would think because of the general state of the economy, there are more people in need of help," he said.

Families can apply from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. until Dec. 5 at Santa's Workshop, 230 S. Ohio Ave. Two evening sessions from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. will be offered on Nov. 18 and Dec. 2.

Distribution of presents and certificates is scheduled for Dec. 19 and 20.

For more information call the workshop at 827-2226.

Community Santa Campaign Box Locations:

McLaughlin Bros. Furniture Co.

The Sedalia Democrat

Sedalia Municipal Building

Adco

Septagon Industries

Celebration Center

Curves

Sedalia Public Library

Boonslick Regional Library

U.S. Bank (all branches)

Duke Manufacturing

First Christian Church

3rd National Bank main branch

Wal-Mart

Big Lots

Brian's Gym

--Boxes will be placed at these businesses beginning Nov. 24

To see more of The Sedalia Democrat or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.sedaliademocrat.com.

Copyright (c) 2008, The Sedalia Democrat, Sedalia, Mo.
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.
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