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Blue Santa Short On Donations With Only Two Weeks Left
A busy weekend of giving in the city of Austin: Chuy’s Children Giving to Children Parade was a huge success, with Blue Santa officials telling us 15,344 presents were collected. The giving continued Sunday night at the lighting of the Zilker Park Christmas Tree, with Blue Santa Volunteers were working the crowd collecting monetary and toy donations.
But it’s down to the wire. The distribution of these gifts to local families is on December 15th, and volunteers say there’s still a long way to go. We told you earlier in the week the group has taken on an additional 6,000 families. This after the president of the Christmas Bureau, a local nonprofit that also collects presents, disappeared without notice and is now being criminally investigated. Blue Santa is now trying to check off both lists to make sure all Austin families have a very Merry Christmas.
Saturday’s toy intake was a 20% increase over 2011’s parade, but even then, organizers say they’re still less than halfway to meeting their goal, with less than two weeks to go.
The Zilker Christmas tree is a symbol of the holiday season, and to many, the giving spirit that comes with it.
"The smile, the tears the gratefulness."
All reactions Eddie Foy’s seen when delivering toys for Blue Santa and a reason why he and his family donated tonight.
"We got 40% but there's still a lot to go," said Scott Stephens, Board President for Blue Santa. “At least 30,000 plus toys."
Blue Santa’s list includes around 15,000 kids, plus another 6,000 from the Christmas Bureau, and even that number isn’t set in stone.
"We're still receiving applications right now,” said Stephens. “I don't have those numbers now, and we won't have those numbers until the 10th,” then later added, “It's become a bigger problem for us."
Board members say the Christmas Bureau’s budget is the same as Blue Santa’s $125,000 budget, doubling the total budget to $250,000. Stephens says cash donations are currently at about 40% of what they need. Money that’s used to buy meals for each family and toys to fill in the gaps, usually for infants and teens.
"We've been out shopping at midnight before delivery day,” said Stephens, who added they’ve pre-bought $3,000 worth of toys already.
But what happens if Blue Santa doesn’t meet its goal?
“We always do,” said Stephns. “That hasn't happened."
A faith in one person, one donation at a time, to make sure there are no sad faces this holiday season.
"Best feeling in the world, to give to someone," said Foy.
Between Sunday and December 15, there are six more events scheduled. For a list of Blue Santa dropoff locations: http://www.keyetv.com/community/features/chuys-children/