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Operation Santa 2015 drive begins in Lebanon County

Written by Merriell Moyer/Lebanon Daily News | Nov 28, 2015 5:32 PM
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Operation Santa Director Cynthia Smith talks about the 2015 campaign. Smith, the director of Agape Family Shelter in Lebanon, is a long time organizer of the charity project. (Photo: Lebanon Daily News)

The Christmas charity must raise $42,000 to help 521 families.

(Lebanon) -- More than 500 families will have a merrier Christmas thanks to Operation Santa, a charity that is funded with donations from the community.

Cynthia Smith, director of the Agape Family Shelter, said she is impressed with the amount of support Lebanon County citizens give to aid those in need.

"Our community is the best ever," Smith said. "It is a community that gives. They have wonderful open hearts to share with people they don't even know. What a great place to serve."

Smith, who is also the director of Operation Santa, said that Operation Santa provides more than just toys and gifts for children. It also provides food for both a whole Christmas dinner and enough groceries for a week for those families who participate in the program in addition to gifts for children in need.

The Lebanon community gives in the range of $40,000 every year to Operation Santa according to Smith.

"What a great place to serve," Smith said. "All we need to do is ask and the community just pours out love."

This year 521 families -- 1,095 children and 797 adults -- have signed up for the program.

"I'm asking the community to donate $42,000 this year," Smith said. "That is our goal."

Last year Operation Santa raised $35,846.22, a little more than $2,000 short of the $38,000 goal, for 531 families.

"We are 10 families down this year, but we have more older children and older children just require more," Smith said.

"We are looking forward to a really fantastic year, where we can continue to contribute to our community and help them to have a nice Christmas," Smith said. She asks that the community will continue, as they have in years past, to open their hearts and give generously.

One hundred percent of the money that goes to Operation Santa is used to help families in need.

The Agape Family Shelter is a mission of the Lebanon Rescue Mission, and together with the Lebanon Daily News, they run Operation Santa. Operation Santa was founded as Operation: Santa Claus by the Lebanon Daily News in 1983, so while the actual fundraising and operation of the charity is handled by Agape and the Lebanon Rescue Mission, the newspaper features stories about those families in need, highlighting one family every day from Thanksgiving to Christmas.

Operation Santa recipients will pick up their items from 8 a.m. to noon on Tuesday, Dec. 22, at the National Guard Readiness Center, 1000 Old Cumberland St. in South Lebanon Township.

How to give

To donate money to Operation Santa, mail checks to: Operation Santa, c/o Lebanon Rescue Mission, P.O. Box 5, Lebanon, PA 17042. Donors who do not wish to have their name published in the newspaper should mark their donations as 'anonymous.'


This article comes to us through a partnership between Lebanon Daily Record and WITF.

Published in Lebanon, News

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