Season of giving begins
By Mary Pickels
Published: Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012, 11:38 p.m.
Putting that special holiday meal on the table can be financially challenging for many families.
Since 1984, volunteers for Trib Total Media's Operation Santa Claus have raised money to provide them with the ingredients for a nourishing, tasty holiday meal.
This year, Operation Santa Claus will provide meals for 7,090 families, up from 6,750 last year.
In order to make that happen, your help is needed.
The fundraising goal this year is $120,000, said Lindsay Berdell, Trib Total Media's director of promotions and marketing and Operation Santa Claus president.
Families will receive all of the ingredients for a holiday meal, along with a $10 gift certificate redeemable for a meat item. The grocery bags will be packed with hot cocoa, scalloped potatoes, stuffing mix, snack crackers, holiday cookies, red and green gelatin, sliced peaches, green beans, corn, applesauce and bread mix.
The cost of providing each meal is $17.25, Berdell said.
While the fundraising officially kicks off today, Berdell said employees, outside organizations and readers already are lending a hand.
Independent owners and operators of Shop 'n Save stores in the area provide the groceries at a greatly reduced cost.
“Our retailers enjoy serving the communities they are in. This is an effort to make the holiday a little better for everybody our stores serve,” said Chris Mintus, a merchandiser for Shop 'n Save.
Shop 'n Save donated food for a fundraising Tribune-Review luncheon. Employees paid $3 each, which was combined with a bake sale, 50/50 and Shop ‘n Save gift card drawing.
The $872.10 raised will provide Christmas dinner to 50 families, said Jeanne Siecinski, Tribune-Review credit-collection manager.
In addition, readers may visit the Trib's online store at store.triblive.com to purchase a Wendell August Forge ornament or a “Family Favorites” cookbook. Sales will benefit Operation Santa Claus.
“We also offer Letters from Santa,” Berdell said.
For a $5 donation, families can receive a personalized letter from Santa for their child by visiting lettersfromsanta.triblive.com.
Proceeds benefit Operation Santa Claus and Newspapers In Education, a program that provides newspapers for classrooms.
The Salvation Army takes applications from people seeking assistance from Operation Santa Claus. The units then distribute the groceries to their clients in a five-county area, along with donated new and gently used books for parents to choose for their children.
“We are all set for this year. But we are still accepting books for next year,” Berdell said.
Greensburg Salvation Army Capt. David Rhodes said Operation Santa Claus sign-ups have been steady this month.
Along with assisting those in need, the donation helps to free up the nonprofit's money for other critical needs, he said.
“They can sit with their families and have a nice Christmas meal, even if times are tough,” Rhodes said.
Starting today, each edition of the Tribune-Review will include a coupon that readers can use to make tax-deductible donations. Donors can include a brief message that will be printed, along with the amount donated. Donors can choose to remain anonymous.
In addition, donors may visit OSC.TribLIVE.com for more information or to donate by credit card. Your help is greatly appreciated.
Balance Brought Foward
Richard M. Scaife$3,000
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” — Isaiah 9:6 — US Hardmetal$1,000
In memory of Paul Teske — friends$515
In memory of Buss, Elizabeth & Anna Mary — Adam Eidemiller Inc.$500
In loving memory of Paul Teske from his daughter & son-in-law — Ken & Dianne Burch$250
Total to Date:$5,335
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