Operation Santa Claus comes to Fort Riley
MANHATTAN, Kan. (WIBW) - It’s getting to that time of year when the weather turns colder and the gifts keep on giving. Operation Santa Claus held its 38th annual ribbon-cutting ceremony out at Fort Riley today.
This organization assists local active-duty enlisted service members who have financial needs by providing gifts for their children. Sgt. Michael Cumberbatch, the head elf, explained how the process all works out.
“Soldier contacting their first sergeant letting them know that they would like to participate in it. The first sergeant goes ahead and gives the soldiers information so they can ensure that the soldiers are eligible and that soldier lets first sergeants know how many children they have, the ages, whether it a boy or a girl,” said Cumberbatch.
Cumberbatch expects there to be about 5 to 6 hundred families that will participate as the donations range anywhere from toys to money.
“Some of the donations are toys, some of the donations are keyboards, people can also donate money which helps the program itself because there are times that we need to go out and purchase toys and puzzles and things of that nature so donations of toys and monetary donations are the things we need to help the soldiers,” said Cumberbatch.
Some of the elves, SPC Ambler and PFC Gilmore, said they love to see smiles on children’s faces when they receive a gift.
“Makes us feel good, makes us feel real good, reminds me of when I was a kid,” said Ambler.
“It means a lot to me I got 4 nieces at home, so it just means a lot to see the children happy because I know my parents went out their way for me on Christmas to get me what they feel like I needed so it feels great,” said Gilmore.
Cumberbatch said this is more than just helping the community as this means so much to the organization.
“It does the heart good for us to know that we’re not just participating in that but we’re helping our fellow soldiers because again were brothers in arms were sisters in arms so for us to be able to facilitate that type of care for our fellow soldiers it warms our hearts to know again that we are helping soldiers in this capacity,” said Cumberbatch.
The organization accepts donations of new toys as boxes are located on Fort Riley and at businesses throughout Junction City, Ogden, and Manhattan.
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