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Operation Santa Claus: Season's best greeting

| Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016, 5:19 p.m.

'Tis the season for all manner of solicitations, many unfamiliar and far removed from home. One that's rock solid, close to home and with an outstanding track record spanning more than three decades is Operation Santa Claus.

This nonprofit organization is a cooperative effort by Trib Total Media, Shop 'n Save and the Salvation Army, and it is on pace to provide Christmas dinners with all the trimmings to more than 5,000 households across Southwestern Pennsylvania. This year's goal is $92,000; every dollar raised goes to the purchase of groceries at cost through area Shop 'n Save stores.

For $17.25, Operation Santa Claus provides a full family dinner for four, including a gift certificate for a meat item, along with coloring books, crayons and new or gently used storybooks for children. As holiday bargains go, this one's tough to beat.

It's all made possible by a dedicated army of about 300 good-hearted elves, who pitch in with fundraising, pack the groceries and load the trucks. The Salvation Army screens recipients and delivers the meals.

Simply put, Operation Santa Claus is about neighbors helping neighbors, as it has been since 1984.

Just fill out the coupon that appears daily in the Trib and online to make a tax-deductible contribution. You'll be helping area residents while feeding your own spirit during this season of giving.

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