No rest at Santa's Workshop

Story by Maj. Jay R. Adams
13th SC(E) Public Affairs

There is no rest in Santa's workshop at the North Pole and there is no rest for Santa's Workshop at Fort Hood-not even in June.

Sponsored by the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), but dedicated to helping all families with financial difficulty, Santa's Workshop is an annual program designed to purchase and distribute toys to Fort Hood children ages 6 months to 14 years.

Santa's workshop is staffed entirely by volunteers and operates as a 501(C3) charitable organization.

The volunteers conduct a variety of fundraisers, year-round, to support the program. One of the most important fundraisers is Christmas in July which officially "kickstarts" the efforts to raise funds for purchasing toys. Bill White, proprietor of the Outback sponsors this effort annually at his restaurant. This year's event will be on Wednesday, July 12th with two seatings, one at 11 a.m. and one at 12:45 p.m. Tickets are $15 for a delicious sample of some of the Outback's menu offerings.

The goal is to provide families needing assistance at least two new toys per child, a new book to emphasize the importance of reading, and a new game to encourage family time and fun.

Last year, the program was able to assist 1,256 families and more than 3,000 children.

Brig. Gen. Terry, said "it is an amazing program. There are many other great programs but this directly touches our Soldiers and families."

One unique part of Santa's Workshop is that parents are allowed to come into the facility and "shop" for new toys for their children.

The volunteers feel that parents know what toys their children already have and what their likes and dislikes might be.

In addition to Christmas in July, they also collect "Santa Bucks," where people can donate a dollar and have their name and unit or place of business placed on a "Santa Buck" and displayed on a unit/business Christmas Tree at Santa's Workshop, and their"Adopt a Child"program.

As part of Adopt a Child, a $30 donation helps to fund the purchases necessary for a single child-the two new toys, the book, and a family game.

New toys and monetary donations are gratefully accepted year-round. Anyone interested in donating or volunteering to help the Santa's Workshop program wishing to attend Christmas in July may contact Santa's Workshop at 287-TOYS (287-8697).


news photo
Brig. Gen. Michael J. Terry, Commanding General, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) discusses Santa's Workshop during an orientation meeting Monday. The 13th SC(E) sponsors the program which is designed to benefit Fort Hood families needing assistance during the holiday season. Photo by Maj. Jay R. Adams, 13th SC(E) Public Affairs