At some point, every kid notices that there’s a Santa on every corner and in every store in town. Parents usually explain it away by saying, “Well, Santa needs lots of help at Christmastime!”
That’s why FSGC’s “Santa’s Little Helpers” program is just as important today as it was when it was launched years ago: to help ensure that client families have a happy holiday.
Kaleena Harmer, accountant in FSGC’s finance department, coordinates this annual effort designed to make the holidays happier for families that might not have a Christmas otherwise.
“FSGC staff members submit the names of client families who need a hand this Christmas. No one knows these families better than they do,” she explained. “These are hard-working, deserving folks who are doing all they can but have fallen on tough times. We have a lot of single parents and a number of two-parent families that are struggling to just to make ends meet.”
Each family completes a wish list that includes information like clothing sizes and things the children are interested in. Each family member gets a clothing outfit, a modest gift or toy and personal hygiene items like body wash, deodorant, shampoo and a toothbrush and toothpaste. They also get everything they need for a special Christmas meal.
Most Santa’s Little Helpers families are adopted by FSGC staff teams. In addition, community partners like Texas Roadhouse and the Kansas Department of Commerce adopt families. Finally, FSGC board members and other individual donors make generous gifts to help support the program.
Kaleena and a few other staff members do the majority of the shopping, but she said the real payoff comes when they make their deliveries.
“There are a number of families who, we know, wouldn’t have a Christmas to speak of if it weren’t for Santa’s Little Helpers,” she said. “We walk in with the gifts and the food, and mom starts to tear up and the kids get excited. That joy is what the holidays are all about.”