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F.O.P. trying to help as many kids as possible

The economy has been struggling for the past few months, and that has caused many families in Chilton County to have a rough time finding a way to provide for a good Christmas this year.

Operation: Santa Claus has seen a increase in applicants this year for help during the holidays. This drive is sponsored annually by the Fraternal Order of Police Smith-Dale Lodge in Clanton.

Donations, however, have also been down because people don’t have as much money to give to charity, according to drive spokesperson John Shearon.

“Our donations have been slim so far this year,” he said. “Everyone’s hurting right now. This is the sixth year we have done this. It gets harder and harder every year.”

That is why the F.O.P. is promoting several fundraisers to help the organization give as many families as good of a Christmas as possible.

Today, the organization is bagging for Fred’s in Clanton, and they are asking for tips that will benefit Operation: Santa Claus. Shearon said this is the sixth year they have done this fundraiser.

During those six years, Shearon said they have only had one customer who has tried to steal something from the store while they were there.

“They didn’t get too far,” he added.

Tomorrow, Operation: Santa Claus will be allowing children and pets to get pictures with Santa Claus. The event will be held at the Clanton Recreation Building on Lay Dam Road from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“We had a lot interest in the past from people who wanted to have their pets’ pictures made with Santa,” Shearon said. “We want everyone to know that they can bring their pets with us.”

Also on Saturday, F.O.P. members will challenge Alabama and Auburn fans coming through the Jemison Piggly Wiggly and Clanton Winn-Dixie to see who will give the most.

F.O.P. is also selling chances to win a kids-size 4-wheeler. Tickets are $20, and they will be selling around 200 tickets.

If anyone is unable to participate in these fundraisers, they can still donate money to the organization or adopt a family. To adopt a family, Shearon said they could contact him at 755-6261. They can also call Warren Garris at 755-4698 or Jay Edwards at 389-1410.

Monetary donations can also be sent to Operation: Santa Claus, P.O. Box 2332, Clanton, AL 35046.

Shearon said they hope to get as many donations as possible to help as many families as they can this year.

“The number of families that we can help is based on the amount of donations that we receive, whether it’s monetary or by people and groups adopting families,” he said.

– Brent Maze can be reached at brent.maze@clantonadvertiser.com.