Those writing letters to Santa need address their envelopes no further than Crescent City, as Santa's Workshop is coming to town.
Santa’s Workshop will return for another year of spreading joy to the children of Del Norte County. Last year, they served over 1200 children in the county.
“We have been told over and over how wonderful this program and how vital it is for [the children], and it makes a difference. It really does,” said Trish Hughes, the workshop’s organizer.
The workshop, held in the old Daly’s Building on 964 Third Street, is a seasonal charity affiliated with Rural Human Services that helps families in need get Christmas presents for their children.
It works like this–parents or grandparents can register children by bringing proof of income to the 964 Third Street from nine to five Monday through Friday beginning on Nov. 12. A “passport of services” from Social Services or a letter from TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) will suffice as proof of income.
Once accepted, the child’s age and clothing size will be written on yellow and green paper mittens and distributed to Christmas trees around town.
Stores such as Walmart and Aiden’s Toy Trove will display Christmas trees ornamented with the yellow and green mittens. Those who wish to donate can take a mitten, purchase toys and clothing with a limit of 40 dollars and deliver it to the old Daly’s Building.
Hughes, a volunteer with Rural Human Services and a retired Joe Hamilton preschool teacher of 21 years, spearheads the workshop and has for the past seven years.
With determination and passion, she organizes volunteers, enlists community members, categorizes gifts and ensures it flows as smoothly as if it were run by Santa’s elves.
“I’ve been doing this ever since I retired and I love it,” Hughes said. “This is a passion for me because it is about the kids, and it’s so wonderful because for some of the children, if we didn’t do the things that we can do here for them, they might not have a Christmas.”
Anyone is welcome to volunteer for whatever amount of time they can. Hughes especially needs volunteers once the presents start arriving, as they wrap all the presents in-house. They would like all the gifts to be turned in on Friday, Dec. 13.
“Whatever works for them, I’ll make it work,” Hughes said. “If you wanna come and put in any kind of time, come. We’ll make it work.”
In addition to gift donations, they welcome donations of tape, wrapping paper and other miscellaneous items for gift preparations. Hughes invites volunteers or donors to call her at 707-951-4848 for more specifics.
Another way to support the workshop is to attend the Indian Taco Fundraiser from 11 to 6 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 15 at the Del Norte County Fairgrounds. They will have indian tacos for eight dollars and fry bread for four dollars.
Hughes said the workshop is ultimately a community effort. Donors bring the gifts, volunteers wrap the packages, Curt Lunsford from Toys for Tots brings toys from Brookings, and others deliver the packages to their pickup locations in Smith River and Klamath.
“That’s the thing about this community they give, and they iv from the heart,” Hughes said. “I’m amazed at the generosity. It's just wonderful.”
Once the gifts are wrapped and organized, they are ready for pickup day. Pick up in Crescent City will be on the 19th and 20th at the Old Daly building. For those who live in Klamath and Smith River, pick up will be on Saturday, Dec. 20. Klamath’s will be at the Community Center and Smith River’s will be at the fire station. Pickup will be here on the 19th and 20th of December.