Blue, Brown Santa programs need help


by JIM BERGAMO / KVUE News and Photojournalist Erin Coker

Bio | Email | Follow: @JimB_KVUE

Posted on December 11, 2013 at 8:00 PM

Updated Friday, Dec 13 at 9:08 AM

AUSTIN -- Any child in grade school can tell you that Santa is due to arrive in two weeks. However the delivery days for Blue and Brown Santa are this weekend, and both organizations are hurting in one specific area.

It's not Santa's elves but Blue Santa volunteers who are busy with final preparations for this year's holiday deliveries.

"I like doing it," said JoAnn Obra, who's been volunteering for a couple of years. "I like to watch the kids faces when they open their presents. It's just a nice feeling."

Blue Santa organizers says there's still a need for some toys for infants to two years old and for kids 11 to 14 years old. There's also a need for able bodies this weekend. With delivery day this Saturday and more than 3,800 kids scheduled to receive deliveries, Blue Santa could still use help in filling their trucks. Cash remains the biggest need.

"Especially as we've had to purchase the turkeys, chickens and the different fixings for the traditional Christmas meal," said Ken Crooks, president of the Blue Santa Board of Directors.

A similar story is playing out at the Brown Santa headquarters in North Austin.

"Volunteers are plentiful," said Louis Moncivais, a Brown Santa board member. "It's just we're not getting enough of donations.  

As for toys Moncivais says, "We rely on the late donations, because they help us with next year's toys," he said. "We're just not seeing it. We've gone through three years of reserves in our toys."

Meanwhile the lack of cash has left Brown Santa's food shelves nearly bare.

"We just made 240 boxes last night," said Moncivais. "That's about all we were able to make."

That leaves Brown Santa more than 1,300 food boxes shy. Still volunteers are hoping it all gets pulled together in time.

"There's a satisfaction when people know you still do care," said Fina Rodriguez, who's in her first year as a Brown Santa volunteer. "We still care and we still want to give back any way that we can."

They want to make sure none of the families counting on a delivery are disappointed.

Go here to help with Blue Santa.

Go here to help with Brown Santa.

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