11/30/06 — Operation Santa Claus seeks donations

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Operation Santa Claus seeks donations

By News-Argus Staff
Published in News on November 30, 2006 1:45 PM

Operation Santa Claus, the annual Christmas drive sponsored by the Mental Health Association in Wayne County, is under way and donations are being sought from the community.

The local association has sponsored the project since 1960, said Amy Roux, executive director, who noted that chapters throughout the state host similar drives. The goal is to provide Christmas gifts to citizens with mental illness or disabilities in local nursing homes and care facilities.

"Each year, we receive 'wish lists' from local facilities to find out what our citizens need. Then, volunteers take the lists and go shopping for the gifts. They also wrap and deliver the gifts to the designated facility," she said.

Ms. Roux said there are several ways to help. Monetary donations are always needed as well as volunteers to assist with shopping and wrapping gifts.

In 2005, she said, about 400 Wayne County residents received a gift. In addition to such facilities as Britthaven, Cherry Hospital, Eastpointe, Fremont Rest Center and Wayne County Group Home, Operation Santa Claus also provided sleeping bags to the Goldsboro Police Department for the homeless in the county, she said.

"This year more and more citizens are in need," Ms. Roux said. "Our wish lists have increased, and these citizens are asking for basic needs such as clothing and blankets. We also have added to our program the collection of toiletry items for the homeless."

Donations of shampoo, toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, deodorant and assorted sizes of underwear for men and women will be given out at the local homeless shelters.

All donations may be brought to our office at 804-C Corporate Drive or sent to Operation Santa Claus, c/o Mental Health Association in Wayne County, P.O. Box 1476, Goldsboro, NC 27533.

To volunteer to shop and/or wrap gifts, call 734-3530.