The Indian Territory Roundup Club presented Operation Christmas with a check just under $2,000 Monday after a fund-raiser barrel racing event last weekend.
They also donated a trailer load of toys, according to Operation Christmas Co-Manager Peggy Christian.
Roundup Club spokesman Butch Biby reported there were 120 barrel racers from around the state in the competition last Sunday at the Expo Center.
Biby expressed the club’s appreciation for the assistance from the county commissioners in helping them put on the event that has been going on for almost a decade.
Sponsors for the barrel racing event included Bill Johnson Construction, McClain Bank, Sheehy Signs, Zeck Motor Co., Ted Cox, Comanche Construction, KD Arnold Trucking, Windy Chevrolet, First United and Bravo’s Mexican Grill.
Mrs. Christian, who has worked tirelessly for Operation Christmas for the past 30 years, said they handed out 195 food baskets this year and dished out presents to 692 needy children.
“The most number of food baskets we’ve donated is 263. The lowest number was 161 last year,” Mrs. Christian told The Purcell Register this week.
One group Operation Christmas really helps is grandparents raising grandchildren.
“There are a lot of them,” Mrs. Christian said.
Operation Christmas is a strictly volunteer organization with no paid positions that has been in existence for over 35 years, Mrs. Christian reports.
Christian reported that back in the day, the late Linda Edge organized a bunch of volunteers to get Christmas to families working with the Department of Human Services, the Salvation Army and Delta Community Service.
Edge, who was the forerunner of the current operation, was the toy chairman and Darrell Ford was a board member.
“Darrell is the last of the originals,” Mrs. Christian said.
“The first year I had a budget of $5 per toy for each child,” Mrs. Christian recalled. “We had a charge account at Walmart and would pay it down as donations came in. Oh how we have grown.”
Thanks to a major donator, Operation Christmas now has a nest egg to fall back on but Mrs. Christian says the small donations are the bread and butter of the entire operation.
“We couldn’t make it without the $25 and $30 donations,” she confirmed. “And the help we get from places like the Wayne Schools, home schoolers and retired people is vital.”
Mrs. Christian reports about 40 people volunteer to help every day.
Food stores in town help feed the hungry volunteers. Mrs. Christian said among those are Walmart, Cash Saver, Sonic, McDonalds, Papito’s, Jo’s Pizza and Wastewater Solutions Septic Services.
“We have food drives in Wayne, Washington, Newcastle and Purcell,” she said. “We have schools and churches helping to take care of families and mainly their children.
Operation Christmas handed out 250 hams this year.
“And the cost of everything has gone up,” Mrs. Christian said. “The hams used to cost $10 and now they are $12. We will start shopping the day after Christmas and shop all year long. We only go where they are having a sale. We even get calls from people when they are going to have a sale.”
McClain County has provided a trailer to Operation Christmas for storage.
“We appreciate all the help from everyone,” Mrs. Christian said.
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