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Project Santa completes 55th year of deliveries

Project Santa completed its 55th year of Christmas Eve deliveries to children in Davidson and Rowan counties. Project Santa delivered toys and treat bags to 701 children, as well as visiting a few families on the edge of Stanly and Montgomery counties.

To reach all the children, Santa had to personally visit 267 families on Christmas Eve. This would not have been accomplished without the 100 plus volunteers who helped. For the 12th straight year, food was provided by Food Lion. Food baskets were distributed or picked up by 417 families and individuals in need. Store managers and the district manager from the Lexington and Thomasville Food Lion stores helped unload the truck and put food boxes together. Fruit baskets went to 315 families and individuals in the Denton area.

Project Santa visits each family to determine their need, visiting at least 500 families and individuals. After almost two months of visiting, Denton First Baptist Church opened up as the project’s headquarters on Dec. 14. Due to space constraints, Bunce Buildings again donated the use of a storage building. Terri Cook and members from New Beginnings Church, also in Denton, along with other volunteers put together more than 267 fruit baskets. Youth and adult leaders of Denton First Baptist Church Youth group (KFC) put together 700 treat bags, packing them away for Santa and his elves to deliver on Christmas Eve. Santa’s elves from Lexington and Denton assembled 385 food boxes.

On Dec. 17, the Food Lion truck arrived and 385 food baskets were assembled. The box held potatoes, peanut butter, fruit cocktail, flour, macaroni and cheese, canned yams, green beans, corn, pintos, peas, rice, cereal, crackers, dry milk, ham or turkey; 32 more food baskets were made for families in need as the week progressed.

Bobby Garner, founder of Project Santa, was invited by Tammy Whilhem and Tom Kelly of Food Lion to a luncheon Dec. 6. Prior to that, the employees could buy toys for the project — they filled a church van with toys. Many financial contributions were made as well.

A clothing closet for the needy was staffed with volunteers from the Golden Circle Bible School class, headed by Jeff and Geneva Swaringen. They give time and effort throughout the year to make sure those who need clothes can get them. This year they found around 150 kids who needed coats and fitted them.

Jeans were donated for the fifth year by VFJeanswear, Greensboro. They donated 520 pair of jeans for teens and adults. This year approximately 5,000 articles of clothing were picked out by families and individuals who needed it.

Project Santa would like to thank “Toys for the Town” for the toys they collected during the Denton Christmas Parade, silent auction and their lunch at the Civic center. “Toys for the Town” was started by Amanda Cole and Keith Perry to memorialize their parents, the late Danny and Kelly Perry. They collected a lot of toys and made a financial contribution to Project Santa.

Miss Denton, Callan Loflin and the Denton Lions Club provided more than 700 books for the children in Denton and eastern Rowan County.

This year there would be 19 Santas needed to deliver toys and treats on Christmas Eve in Denton and East Rowan/Salisbury.

Santa loaded up his toys and treats and headed for St Matthews Lutheran Church on Bringle Ferry Road and set up all the routes for his East Rowan and Salisbury visits.

Project Santa would like to say thank you to all the civic organizations, businesses, foundations and individuals that donated their time, financial resources and talents to make Project Santa 2012 a success. Donations of food, toys and clothing and financial contributions help the project meet their budget of over $87,000.

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