Some Gonzales Santas received an early Christmas gift—their very own Santa suits, thanks to a POWER UP grant. For the past few years, the Silent Santa of Gonzales County organization has had to borrow Santa suits from other local groups in order to make deliveries to the 90 or so deserving girls and boys on their list.

This organization was formed by personnel from local emergency departments and law enforcement agencies who wanted to help families overlooked by other assistance programs. Their objective is to give the kids more than just a gift; they also want to help provide basic necessities like shoes and clothing.

“Our goal is to reach the families who are working hard to provide the basic necessities, but may be too proud to ask for help. Typically, we only help them for a few years until they get back on their feet,” says Santa Robert McCauley.

That’s why “silent” is an important part of the organization’s name: this assistance is offered discreetly. Once the organization receives recommendations, they ask parents for permission to include their child in the program. Then, the Silent Santas find out exactly what the child needs before they shop.

To raise funds, the group holds bake sales, a chili cook-off, and a raffle in addition to accepting donations. Other volunteers from local groups like the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Lions Club and high school organizations pitch in to wrap the gifts.

McCauley says receiving the $1,000 POWER UP grant is greatly appreciated. It will make it much easier for these Santas to coordinate and deliver the many gifts that will carry the children through the holidays and into next year.

For more information about Silent Santa of Gonzales County, visit: www.silentsanta.org.

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