On Wednesday morning, the old state warehouse that serves as the Operation Santa Claus headquarters was bustling with activity. Over the course of a few hours, SEA/SEIU Local 1984 members and National Guard troops loaded thousands of packages on National Guard trucks to be delivered all over the state.
This is the 58th year that SEA members have organized this program, growing from a few children in the Concord area to the program we see today – which helped nearly 3,000 children in need this year.
“So many people touch this program, from the caseworkers at DHHS to our members who volunteer so much time to all of the people who sponsor children,” said SEA President Rich Gulla. “Given how large the program is, it makes sense that so many are involved, but it’s still really heartwarming. I’m proud and thankful for all of this effort to help those in need.”
On Wednesday, the National Guard formed lines to pass packages from the sorted piles into the waiting trucks. Those trucks will be arriving throughout the day at DHHS district offices around the state; the next step will be for the DHHS caseworkers to distribute the gifts.
After all the trucks were loaded, OSC volunteers drew winning raffle tickets for a wide array of gift baskets. Winners will be notified in the coming days.