‘Operation: Santa Claus’ needs your help

Published 8:06 pm Monday, December 5, 2011

Donations for Clanton Fraternal Order of Police’s “Operation: Santa Claus” are down from past years.

The group of law enforcement officers hold “Operation: Santa Claus” every year, helping thousands of children over the years have a merrier Christmas.

But according to F.O.P. treasurer and Clanton Police Chief Brian Stilwell, this season has been especially difficult for the lodge.

Surely a sign of the down economy, more people have asked for help this year, but fewer donations have come in.

“We know everyone is hurting and that has increased our applications for help dramatically, but our donations are way down from previous years,” Stilwell said.

Through Monday, Clanton F.O.P. has received just more than $5,275 in donations. Compared to past years, the group would have been over $10,000 by this part of December.

But it’s not too late to help with the cause, Stilwell said.

“We have had several donations of gifts along with the cash donations,” Stilwell said. “We will take any amount of money or any new unwrapped toy.”

Clanton F.O.P. sent out donation letters to more than 400 charitable organizations but only received donations from 25.

“We thank all those that have helped this year and in years past, but the number of families that have requested help from us has increased due to the economy, and we are going to have a very hard time helping without the generosity of those who may be more fortunate this Christmas,” Stilwell said.

Check donations can be made out to Clanton F.O.P. Smith Dale Lodge No. 31 and mailed to Clanton F.O.P., P.O. Box 1332, Clanton, AL 35046.

Monetary donations and unwrapped gifts can be delivered to the Clanton Police Department, 601 First Ave. N. in Clanton.

“The Clanton F.O.P. thanks everyone for their concern and even the smallest donation can help,” Stilwell said. “From the Clanton F.O.P., we wish everyone a Merry Christmas.”