12/13/10 — Mental health group raising money to provide Christmas

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Mental health group raising money to provide Christmas

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on December 13, 2010 1:46 PM

Operation Santa Claus, a community project to purchase Christmas gifts for the oft-forgotten, is conducting its annual drive with a goal of $9,000.

Sponsored by the Mental Health Association in Wayne County, the effort provides gifts to citizens with mental illness or disabilities, the elderly and homeless who are in local institutions, group homes or nursing homes.

Started in 1962, each year the Mental Health Association receives wish lists from such facilities as O'Berry Neuro-Medical Center, Cherry Hospital, group homes and nursing homes where residents may have no families or friends to remember them at Christmastime.

In 2009, MHA provided gifts for more than 300 area residents, said Amy Raux, MHA director.

"Each year the Operation Santa Claus committee sets a goal for ensuring that each citizen receives a gift," she said. "Our goal this year is $9,000 to reach 300 forgotten citizens in Wayne County. MHA in Wayne County and the committee for Operation Santa Claus are calling upon the citizens in Wayne County to contribute to the worthy cause.

"All contributions are welcome and are tax deductible."

In addition to monetary donations, items requested include sleeping bags, toboggans, socks, gloves and scarves, underwear, toiletries and blankets. Volunteers are also needed to help shop, wrap and deliver gifts.

Items can be dropped off at the old Wayne Community College campus, 804 Corporate Drive. Monetary donations can be mailed to the Mental Health Association in Wayne County, P.O. Box 1478, 804 Corporate Drive, Goldsboro, NC 27534.

For more information on the project, call 734-3530.