Every Dec. 24 for the past 45 years, a small group of Santa’s Helpers have delivered Christmas gifts and baskets to LaRue County families. It’s a year-long process that kicks into high gear during the Thanksgiving holidays.
The Santa project, started by Bobby Morrison 46 years ago, provides a happier holiday season for local low-income families and others struggling to make ends meet. About 300 children wait and watch for the Santa Bus, fondly known as “Rudolph” to bring toys to their communities. Stops are planned at each of the county’s fire departments and shopping centers.
Nearly 200 more families receive fruit baskets.
Bobby no longer participates in the tradition due to health concerns but it is carried on by his wife, Ann “Snookie” Morrison, his son Tommy and a handful of dedicated volunteers: Jimmy Engle, Phyllis Smith and Linda Daniels.
Snookie said the group misses long-time volunteer Carolyn McCorkle who died Nov. 6.
“She was one of our right-hand people,” Snookie said.
Dixie Dunn, another faithful volunteer, is facing health problems.
The Santa’s Helpers have been meeting at the Bobby Morrison- Jim Phelps Building at the LaRue County Fairgrounds to refurbish gently-used toys for the Run. They are assisted by several inmates from the LaRue County Detention Center.
Volunteers want each child to receive at least one new toy. The used toys are organized, inspected and cleaned before they are given to the children. Dolls receive a bath, hair brushing and clean clothes; electronic toys are checked for batteries; puzzle pieces are counted.
Snookie said the group still needs donations of time, cleaning supplies, cash, batteries and toys.
“We need batteries,” said Snookie. “We have lots of good toys that look like they’ve never been played with.”
Other items that are needed include toys and clothing for older children such as board and card games, scarves and gloves.
Snookie considers the Santa Run to be a “last chance” for families who may have missed deadlines for holiday assistance from other agencies.
Anyone wanting to donate items can drop them off at Santa’s House at 760 Salem Lake Road or call 234-3313 for pickup.
Five stops are planned on Christmas Eve:
• Magnolia Fire House – 9:30 a.m.
• Buffalo Fire House – 11 a.m.
• LaRue/Hodgenville Fire House – 1:45 p.m.
• Smith’s Plaza –2:45 p.m.
• Lincoln Plaza –3:45 p.m.