The Le Sueur County Santa Anonymous program is being planned for the 2019 holiday season. This year’s shop will be open at the St. Mary’s Social Hall, located at the corner of Tyrone Street and Waterville Avenue in Le Center, on Monday, Dec. 16 from noon to 6 p.m.
Since 1977, Santa Anonymous coordinates donations in one central location in Le Sueur County, so services are not duplicated and more families are helped. It provides a shop where parents can choose a new toy for their child, free of charge. Volunteers in each town in the county publicize the shop, collect donations and bring them distribution. While Le Sueur County Human Services mails information and registers parents at the shop, the shop is available to any parent and child living in the county. Proof of residence (i.e. current utility bill) is needed.
The main focus of the program is to provide a new “major” toy for children ages newborn to 18 (living at home and in school). Books, stocking stuffers, socks, mittens, hats and underwear are also given out. Any item donated to Santa Anonymous is displayed for parents to select. There are always requests for quilts, sheets, blankets, coats and boots. Whatever comes in is given out.
Santa Anonymous has again teamed with Adopt A Family, which provides clothing. Both programs plan their distribution on the same weekend. Volunteers with both programs feel this partnership has worked well since it began in 2012.
In 2018, Santa Anonymous served 631 children from 228 families, which is close to the 2017 numbers. Sixty families with 135 children were new to this program last year. New family numbers continue to increase in recent years.
Last year, Adopt A Family limited their clothing requests to newborn to age 12. However, at the Santa Anonymous shop, they provided a variety of teen clothing for ages 13-18 and will do this again this year.
All contributions are tax-deductible; receipts can be requested. As much as possible, volunteers purchase the Santa Anonymous gifts within the county. So, donations help the county’s businesses, as well as families in need.
Many organizations and individuals work throughout the year. Operation Round Up from MVEC has been a loyal supporter. Each resident in their service area can participate by signing onto their ORU to support many nonprofit organizations.
In Le Sueur County, 4-H clubs, Scouts USA, biker groups, schools within and out of the county, churches, businesses and individuals are the mainstay supporters.
Six Le Sueur County community donation sites and volunteer contacts are available. Local banks all participate as collections sites. If you are unsure what to give, cash is appreciated, so toys of equal value can be purchased tax free by the volunteers.
For program eligibility, call Cindy at Le Sueur County Human Services at 357-8298. For donation or toy questions, call your local volunteer or Le Center’s LuAnn Leach at 357-4850.