Love, Santa delivers lots of love
The line began about 7 a.m. outside of Woodburn Armory and continued to increase, while families waited to receive packed food boxes and donated childrens gifts during a difficult season.
Originally founded by Nikki DeBuse in 1990, when 25 children received presents, Love, Santa developed into a nonprofit organization in 1993 and, this year, gave food boxes to 322 families and two toys each to 862 children on Saturday.
Ive seen parents crying because theyre just so joyful that they actually get food and their kids get gifts; thats the biggest thing for the families. They might have enough food to get by, but this actually gives them a meal, something they can enjoy, said Love, Santas fifth-year president Robert Prinslow.
This gives them toys for their kids that they know they couldnt get,?Prinslow continued.
In November, Prinslow received the names, ages and gender of the families in need from Woodburn City Hall so he could spend the extra time to prepare for the special day of those in need.
Seventy-two organizations, businesses and individuals donated to Love, Santa this year.
Donated food box items included: beans, rice, bread, eggs, margarine, milk, cereal, oatmeal, macaroni and cheese, juice, nuts, cookies and chips.
Love, Santa received a toy donation of 66 bags of toys from KGW News Great Toy Drive 2013 and FOX 12 Toy Drive so there wasnt a need to buy additional gifts.
This year we were fortunate, we didnt have to buy toys, said Prinslow. Some years, we spent $1,000, $2,000 on toys.
Prinslow mentioned that branching out, contacting local businesses, letting them know what Love, Santa has done and what their goals are has helped interest in increasing volunteers and donors.
Love, Santa additionally leaves several food boxes for the military because of their willingness to allow the organization on the drill floor for five days.
They accommodate us whole-heartedly, said Prinslow. Theyre really supportive of our program.
Deb Yager, who has been volunteering for nearly 10 years, said this year is the smoothest Love, Santa has ever been.
Some years, things go and you hope that everything comes together and you hope that everything works out. This year was not like that, said Prinslow. Everything just fell into place from the beginning.