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Operation Santa Claus to aid 5,175 homes

| Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2016, 9:27 p.m.

As it has for 32 years, Operation Santa Claus is stepping up to ensure that thousands of needy Western Pennsylvania families enjoy the gift of a holiday meal this year.

Operation Santa Claus is a nonprofit organization and a cooperative effort by Trib Total Media, Shop 'n Save and the Salvation Army.

This year, we will provide a festive and nutritious meal for 5,175 local households.

Each grocery bag will include a gift certificate for a meat item of the family's choice, canned vegetables and fruit, spaghetti sauce, pasta, soup, brownie mix, macaroni and cheese, stuffing, crackers, hot cocoa mix, corn muffin mix, cookies, flavored gelatin and gravy. Bags also will contain coloring books, crayons and new or gently used storybooks for children.

Area Shop 'n Save stores provide the groceries at cost, and Charley Family Shop 'n Save stores donated food for fundraising luncheons where Tribune-Review employees purchased meals, donated baked goods and participated in 50/50 raffles and gift card drawings.

Profits went to Operation Santa Claus.

Shop 'n Save grocery merchandiser Chris Mintus said the charity is a good fit for its retailers.

“Food is our business, and helping the community have a good holiday is important to all of the independent operators of Shop 'n Save stores,” he said. “Our customers and the communities Shop 'n Save stores are in all benefit from this program. It's a way for retailers to give back and to help people enjoy their holiday.”

“We also offer letters from Santa,” Tribune-Review Executive Director of Marketing Lindsay Berdell Bock said.

For a $5 donation, which goes to the campaign, families can receive a personalized letter from Santa for a child. Requests must be submitted by Dec. 9. Ads will run in the company's publications.

Parent company Trib Total Media coordinates a team of more than 300 volunteers to pack groceries and load trucks. The Salvation Army screens recipients and makes the deliveries.

The most important ingredient in Operation Santa Claus' success is you — the people, families and corporate donors who fund the project. No donation is too small. A nourishing meal for a family of four can be provided for $17.25.

Donation coupons will be published throughout the holiday season, along with lists of donors. Some donors prefer to remain anonymous while others write a brief message to accompany the acknowledgement of their gift.

Operation Santa Claus has set a fundraising goal this year of $92,000. Every dollar will be used to help our neighbors in need.

We're putting dinner on the table. Won't you help lend a hand and help us give the gift of a holiday meal? For more information or to donate online, visit osc.triblive.com.

Wishing you a Blessed Christmas and New Year – Mark, Joan, Dan, David, Jessica, Mike and Matt $50

Mashale Josedoski $17.25

In loving memory of Eddie and others – Alma Jurkiewicz $17.25

Anonymous $138.00

Total to Date: $222.50

Goal: $92,000

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