Blue Santa, Brown Santa both working overtime


by MELISSA MAHADEO / KVUE News and photojournalist JOHN FISHER

Posted on December 4, 2012 at 6:30 PM

Updated Tuesday, Dec 4 at 6:40 PM

AUSTIN -- Groups like Operation Blue Santa and Travis County Brown Santa both tell KVUE they're on track this year, but one of those groups is facing an extra burden, which means a late start and an early deadline.

With the holidays under way, volunteers with Travis County Brown Santa have no time to waste.

“It is going to cost approximately $40,000 to service those people with turkeys and dry goods,” Tracy Hill-Dorty with Travis County Brown Santa said.

Add in the need for gifts, gift wrapping and donations, and the organization said time is not on its side. This year Brown Santa expects to help about 1,500 families.

“I said ‘just anything outside of your city, just send it to me, and we will do it,’” Hill-Dorty said she told Operation Blue Santa.  

Every year the Christmas Bureau, Brown Santa and Blue Santa work together to help needy families in Central Texas, but a criminal investigation involving the Christmas Bureau has left the other two organizations scrambling to get back on track.

“Hopefully in the spring they can come together, reconvene, work on some of their issues,” Joe Munoz with Operation Blue Santa said.

Blue Santa is picking up the Christmas Bureau's share and helping an additional 6,000 people in need, but it isn’t worried about falling short.

“You really can't focus on the ‘what-ifs' and the ‘what-nots’. If we get continued support, we feel that everybody will have a Christmas this year,” Munoz said.

Munoz said faith in people and the holiday spirit will help the organizations reach their goals.

Blue Santa will need about $125,000 this year.

Both organizations are asking for cash donations as well as toys. Both organizations buy from distributors, so they can get a lot of toys for just $20. This year, unlike in years past, they say they really need gifts for girls ages six to eight.