Secret Santa 2009

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Secret Santa Organization seeks Christmas volunteers

By Rita Howell

The Panola County Secret Santa organization last year collected, wrapped and delivered Christmas gifts and holiday cheer to about 600 local needy children.

The list of applicants this year has grown to 1,350 children, according to Secret Santa spokesman Kay Wolfe.

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“We have so many children this year to be adopted probably due to the poor economy,” she said.

Volunteers have been meeting for several months to organize the project, which originated with Sardis teen Whitney Isbell in 2007. That year she coordinated the drive which resulted in presents for about 500 local kids.

December 1 was the cut-off date for families to apply for assistance. Forms were placed at each public library in the county. The applications have been screened to verify need, according to Wolfe.

Now what Secret Santa needs is neighbors in the community to help out. Individuals or groups can “adopt” families from the listing in Friday’s Panolian to provide gifts for the children whose ages and sexes are listed. Volunteer Diane Davis serves as adoption coordinator and can be reached at 604-0496.

Already 225 children have been adopted, Wolfe said.

Monetary support for the project can be sent to Panola County Secret Santa, P.O. Box 428, Sardis, MS 38666. Contributions can also be delivered to the Batesville Presbyterian Church.

Anyone may donate new, unwrapped toys and gifts for the children. Collection boxes are located at in Batesville at First Security Bank , BancorpSouth, Renasant Bank and First United Methodist Church; in Sardis at First Security Bank and Renasant Bank; and in Como and Crenshaw at First Security Bank.

The next Secret Santa meeting will be Monday, December 7, at 5:30 p.m. at the Sardis Presbyterian Church. Anyone who would like to help with the project is encouraged to attend.