Organization could use help giving children Christmas - KCTV5

Santa's helpers wanted: Help make Christmas brighter for kids in need

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The community has been enlisted by an army of volunteers to help make Christmas happen for thousands of children in the metro.

Last year, Operation Santa Claus through the Della Lamb Community Services made Christmas come true for more than 2,700 kids across the Kansas City area, many of them getting six presents each.

But it takes a lot of work to make the entire thing a success, and the organization needs a little extra help this year through more donated presents.

Sammy Livingston is too humble to admit she's an expert gift wrapper.

"Maybe, I don't know. I just enjoy doing it," Livingston said.

She's wrapped gifts for Operation Santa Claus for seven years. This year, Livingston and all the other volunteers are focused on making sure every child gets what they need.

"A new sweatsuit, underwear, socks, new hat, new pair of gloves for each child," she said as she lists off some of the items they were wrapping.

The volunteers try to give each child a large present, a small gift and a stocking as well as new toys and a new book. They also donate food so the family can prepare a Christmas dinner.

But this year, there's a concern because donations are not keeping up with need.

"It's a Santa's workshop, and we have elves. We are all hoping and praying everything comes together, and it will come together because God blesses this organization. He blesses this effort," Judy Akers, executive vice president of Della Lamb, said.

Donated gifts are separated by gender and age. Parents get to pick the two gifts their children will unwrap Christmas morning.

"We see smiles. We see tears. We see heartfelt gratitude. If you've never been on the other side of having to ask for help, it can be humbling and sometimes you are so filled with gratitude it's difficult to say thank you, but you can see it in the eyes of the person," Akers said.

Those who volunteer for Operation Santa Claus keep coming back to see those genuine reactions time and time again.

"It feels wonderful. I feel so good after I do it," Livingston said.

And the public can help Della Lamb give a wonderful Christmas to those in need. The organization is in need of financial donations and toys for children from infants to 12 years old. Currently, they really need gifts for ages 10, 11 and 12.

Della Lamb needs the donations before they hand out the gifts Dec. 7.

Last year, Della Lamb helped 1,548 families with 2,728 kids in those families. They have received applications for 1,600 families this year. Click here for more information on how you can help or call 816-842-8040.

The organization advises that it's best not to donate toys that require batteries.

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