On Saturday December 11, 2021, the Blue Santa spirit was alive and well as Distribution Day finally arrived in Sulphur Springs! That day, volunteers had the joy of packaging and placing the asked-for items into the vehicles of the families being served. A massive process in itself, Distribution Day marked the end of a 5-week campaign involving local law enforcement, business, industry, churches, charities, non-profits and individuals in the public. It opened with a sign-up period where income-qualifying families could registered to receive Blue Santa assistance this holiday. Next was filling (and frequently emptying!) the Blue Barrels all around the county as shoppers placed new unwrapped toys inside them. Then there were two full days of the Blue Santa Toy Drive and one night at the Lions Club Christmas Parade where anyone could personally hand over the toys they’d purchased to donate. Then, after all the toys were gathered, they were taken to First United Methodist Church Gym where they were matched up with the wish-lists of the 341 families which would be served.
Last of all in the process, families lined up downtown at the CNB drive-thru lanes, then proceeded across to the FUMC west parking lot, then wound their way around the church single-file to the covered drive where their vehicle number was matched up with the numbered boxes and tagged bicycles. At the drive thru, volunteers from the Hopkins County Sheriffs Posse and Sulphur Springs Police Department placed them in the truck bed, trunk or back seat of the vehicles. The final step will take place at home, where the unwrapped toys will be safely stored, then wrapped and tucked under the Christmas tree as a surprise from Santa!
For Christmas 2021, it really took a village! Of the 341 families, it was estimated that about 800 toys and about 200 bicycles would be needed. Numbers of families applying for the assistance have grown following the effects of the COVID pandemic. Thanks go out to everyone who found it in their hearts to give! Funds for the Blue Santa campaign are accepted all year, so if you’d like to make a tax-deductible donation now or anytime, contact the Hopkins County Sheriff’s Department at 903-438-4040 for details.