Letters to Santa volunteers celebrate milestone year - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Letters to Santa volunteers celebrate milestone year

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Left to Right: Gloria Bridges, Silke Deeley and Kristin Caso Left to Right: Gloria Bridges, Silke Deeley and Kristin Caso
Parks and Recreation meeting called to talk about "Letters to Santa" Parks and Recreation meeting called to talk about "Letters to Santa"
Christmas tree put up early to celebrate holiday events Christmas tree put up early to celebrate holiday events
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ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

Bells, candy canes and tiny lights that fill the room are a few things not every child gets to enjoy on Christmas Day but with help from Albany Parks and Rec they can find joy from the  gestures of strangers.

"Two vans full of gifts and bags, that's a lot of work but it's a lot of fun too, we feel like Santa's workshop," Albany Parks and Rec special events coordinator Kristin Caso said.

It's the 10th annual "Letters To Santa," a program that supports children who suffer from abuse or neglect, they write a letter asking what they would like for Christmas. For Liberty House Executive Director Silke Deeley, it's not always toys they ask for, sometimes it's a gift for their parents.

"Those letters are heart-wrenching and how could you not want to do something for children who are in pain."

The program has touched the lives of staff and their own family members. Thorton Rec supervisor Gloria Bridges says her grand-daughter now gets excited to lend a helping hand.

"She said 'Grandma, we ready to go shopping yet? I know what I want to get her' and she wanted to take part of her money and buy a gift, a special gift for her," Bridges said.

Deeley says the gifts symbolize how much the community cares and gives hope that life they have experienced isn't how things are. The program first started answering about 20 to 30 letters but in the span of 10 years it has jumped to around 100 letters.

"When you have an agency with all these children and not one child left behind, we already conquered our goal," Bridges shares.

When the last present is given on December 13th, staff and volunteers will be heading right back to work for next year's holiday season.

If you would like to help this holiday you can stop by the Albany Parks and Rec center located on 1301 North Monroe, pick up a letter and purchase an item from the list and return both to the center. Gifts will be accepted until December 6th or until all letters have been picked up.

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