Hundreds of Lehigh County youth will have a happy holiday, thanks to these volunteer Santas. How you can help ‘Operation Santa Claus’
By Graysen Golter, The Morning Call • Dec 21, 2022 at 7:00 am
No extreme winter weather or even a pandemic is going to stop gifts from getting to children in need this holiday season. Not if the volunteers of “Operation Santa Claus” have anything to say about it.
This year, at least 700 children in the care of Lehigh County Children and Youth Services will be helped by the gift drive, which began in the early 1970s, according to 86-year-old volunteer and organizer Dolly Butz.
As of last week Operation Santa Claus was short of its goal — but that’s not dampening spirits.
“Right now, we don’t have gifts for  children, but we’re calling our friends and calling anybody we can think of to support us,” she said.
“If there’s a child who lost their dad three days before Christmas and he’s not going to have a Christmas, he’s going to get one from us,” Butz said. “That’s what we do. We work up until Christmas Eve just to make sure that everybody who is needy and looking forward to a half-decent Christmas … we take their names and we make sure we get something for them.”
The children who benefit may be suffering problems such as mental health issues, homelessness or missing family members. Throughout the holiday season, caseworkers from Children and Youth Services visit families in the county and will provide resources such as clothing, shoes, money for rent, beds, pajamas and books.
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