BY DAVID FISHER
DRESDEN (November 4) — The volunteer staff at Santa’s Helpers is working hard to make the holiday season a little brighter for those less fortunate this year, by providing local families with food, clothing, and toys to ensure that each child can enjoy a Christmas present.
According to Mrs. Lou Ann Powers, founder and director of Santa’s Helpers, a non-profit organization, “Despite the financial impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the economy, we’re trying not to cut back.” She states, the donations of gift items is still pretty good, but adds, “Our monetary donations are what’s going to make a difference I’m afraid those who have been helping us in the past are having financial problems of their own.”
However, she notes, local churches continue to be a reliable source for monetary donations. “They’re truly a blessing,” Powers said. She stated, in addition to Weakley County churches, a small McKenzie church continues to provide the funds necessary to purchase Christmas gifts.
Santa’s Helpers has evolved from a Christmas charity to a year-round organization helping families in a variety of ways, including: establishing a food pantry; and providing clothing, school supplies, and other household necessities to those who need them the most.
The victims of fires, floods and other natural disasters, as well as the homeless and those in nursing homes also receive help from Santa’s Helpers, as funds allow.
Santa’s Helpers 2020 Christmas forms are being accepted now through December 8. The forms may be filled out at the store or picked up and bought back. These applications provides volunteers with desired Christmas toys, clothing sizes, and other information needed to pack a gift box specifically for each child.
Santa’s Helpers, located at 216 West Main Street in Dresden, is open from 10 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. Monday through Wednesday and Friday. The store is closed on Thursday.
This service is available to all of Weakley County residents in need of help. Applicants must bring a photo ID and proof of address, such as a phone, cable, or utility bill. A contact number must also be provided.
Santa’s Helpers assists the parents/guardians with Christmas gifts for the ones that need it.
The organization reserves the right to check with other agencies and deny anyone if they are yelling or cursing at the volunteers, or have been caught stealing or are banned from Santa’s Helpers.
Parents or guardians are welcome to sign up their children that are in need of help anytime of the year – not just during the holiday season.
“We are very happy to help anyone with clothing, household items, food etc.,” Powers said. “Your children are welcome.” She states free toys are available in the toy box for them, but parents are asked to please keep an eye on their children, so they won’t be running around in the store, swinging things that might hit others. If they are under six years old, an adult should be with them at all times. Volunteers are there to help find clothing, shoes, household items that may be needed or to get food boxes.
Parking is available in front of the store, up the street, and behind Santa’s Helpers. Please do not park in the Cash Express parking lot or block the their driveway. If this occurs, vehicles will be towed at the owner’s expense. “We have to share the parking spaces, due to the fact there are two businesses side-by-side,” Powers said. “Thank you for understanding.”
Santa’s Helpers’ work is never done. They are open all year to help those less fortunate. Donations of clothing, food, toys, or money are accepted at any time, and anyone willing to volunteer is welcome to do so. Call the staff at Santa’s Helpers at 731-364-3130.