Secret Santa is hard at work in Bainbridge

Published 4:19 pm Friday, December 9, 2016

secretsanta1By CAROLYN IAMON

Lifestyle Editor

Secret Santa’s elves (AKA Sherry Weaver and her corps of volunteers who work through Family Connection) have been gathering referrals and family information since October. They receive nominations from Decatur County School social workers, Carlos Williams and Tia Williams, as well as from some of the churches. Forms are then submitted to the families asking for lists of clothing needs, sizes, and toys wanted. That is when the elves really go into action. They shop locally, purchasing the needed items, then wrap each gift and deliver them to the homes.

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Ronnie Burke, director of Family Connection, said this year they have identified 170 children in 40 families who are in need this Christmas season.

The money for the program, usually in the thousands, comes from donations made by businesses and individuals, and is all channeled through Family Connection, which is still accepting financial donations.

The Secret Santa program began several years ago as a community effort initiated by 101.9 and Kevin Dowdy. Burke said Family Connection has coordinated it for the last five years, and Weaver has been the volunteer coordinator for the last two years. “She and her crew do all the work,” he explained.

Families cannot nominate themselves, but must recommended by other agencies or individuals. Those seeking help for themselves are referred to The Salvation Army, who also provide help to those in need.