Operation Santa Claus in the Home Stretch

With Gifts Dropped Off, Volunteers Prepare for Distribution Day

By the carload, truckload and even busload, gifts were flowing into the Operation Santa Claus headquarters on Tuesday, officially the final day to drop off presents.

Volunteers load gifts on a cart for sorting on Tuesday morning at OSC headquarters on Stickney Avenue in Concord.

Volunteers load gifts on a cart for sorting on Tuesday morning at OSC headquarters on Stickney Avenue in Concord.

Next Wednesday, the gifts will be loaded up on National Guard trucks and distributed around the state. Until then, the OSC volunteers will be hard at work making sure everything goes to the right place. Linda Farrell, a Chapter 1 member and chairperson of the Operation Santa Claus Committee, said volunteers were busy with the steady flow of traffic and that was a very good thing.

“That means that all the presents are coming in and will be sent out to the children in the field,” she said. “This is a good day, it’s a busy day, it’s an exhausting day, but it makes you feel good because we know the children are being taken care of this year.”

Workers from the Department of Environmental Services let Santa hitch a ride to OSC headquarters on Tuesday. The big man spent time thanking volunteers and everyone who dropped off gifts.

Workers from the Department of Environmental Services let Santa hitch a ride to OSC headquarters on Tuesday. The big man spent time thanking volunteers and everyone who dropped off gifts.

Some people arrived with one or two bags of gifts, and some agencies showed up with truckloads full. Workers from the Department of Environmental Services arrived with the big man himself, Santa, in tow. Mr. Claus made sure to thank all the volunteer elves with hearty handshakes and the occasional hug. Students from Bishop Brady High School again arrived with a busload of gifts, which they helped unload by passing them along a human chain.

Longtime volunteer Charlene Clark, better known to most as “Clarkie,” said she noticed children even younger than the Bishop Brady students were getting involved.

“This morning, it was really nice,” she said. “A little girl came in, she must have been 4 or 5, and she was carrying a little gift. I took a picture of her, and her mother said she helped her shop. She had this great big smile on her face, she was so happy she was helping other children.”

If you haven’t dropped off your gifts yet, it’s not too late. Just make sure to do it as soon as possible so that volunteers have enough time to get everything sorted out for distribution. Distribution day, when the National Guard troops transport gifts across the state, is set for 8:15 a.m. next Wednesday, Dec. 11. Volunteers are welcomed, as lots of hands are helpful in loading up the trucks. Gov. Maggie Hassan will be in attendance to help out, and she’ll pull the winning ticket in OSC’s iPad drawing (you can still buy tickets at the SEA office; 1 ticket is $2, 3 tickets are $5).

We’d like to thank the volunteers and donors for all you’ve done, and we hope to see you next week as we ship off gifts to children all over the state.

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