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Austin Charity Goes Missing When It's Needed Most
Each year thousands of people in Central Texas apply for help during the holidays.
The Austin Police Department's Operation Blue Santa and the Christmas Bureau step in to help fill the need -- but this year the Christmas Bureau has gone missing and people at Operation Blue Santa are wondering what happened?
“Without the Christmas bureau participation this year it could put us into a pretty bad frenzy,” said Joe Munoz.
Last year operation Blue Santa made the holiday brighter by donating presents to more than 15,000 kids.
The Christmas Bureau would partner with them by donating gift certificates and helping pair a needy family with those who can help donate, helping more than 6,000 people.
This year, so far, the Christmas Bureau is missing in action.
“The expectation is there unless we hear from them saying we can’t do this anymore,” said Joe Munoz with Operation Blue Santa. “We haven’t heard from them at all, the most recent was 10 days ago.”
On the Christmas Bureaus website it says they are taking donations and the office will be open on Dec. 5.
But when KEYE TV went to their listed address the sign on the door says the Christmas Bureau has moved and to call Blue Santa. But no one at Blue Santa knows where they are.
KEYE TV tried to call the phone number listed on the website for the executive director, but it was out of service.
In addition to the uncertainty surrounding the Christmas Bureau, Operation Blue Santa struggles on another front -- a lack of donations.
Right now you take a stroll through their headquarters, where many bins are empty.
Time is ticking down, their major partner is missing in action and the presents just aren't piling up.
“If the Christmas Bureau is out then our concern is we have limited resources here our board of directors is coming up with a contingency plan,” said Munoz.
They’re hoping this was just a misunderstanding and the doors to the Christmas Bureau open Dec. 5, although they are working on new ideas in case that doesn’t happen.
Operation Blue Santa is still accepting donations.
By Adam Racusin