Since the first Monday in November, Community Santa, located in the State Fair Shopping Center in Sedalia, has been taking applications and donations.

December 4 was the last day for applications, and according to "Toy Buyer" Betty Albrecht, over 450 applications for assistance have been received.

"And even though today is the final day, sadly there's always emergencies, like the house fires we had on Thanksgiving Day," Albrecht said of late applications.

Community Santa also serves CASA (Citizens Against Spouse Abuse) and New Haven Girls Group (a teenage girls home here in Sedalia). Clients helped by Community Santa are required to show proof of residency in Pettis County.

"Sedalia is such a caring community, they truly are. They're very giving, they've been very generous to us. And we've had so many businesses that have partnered with us," Albrecht said, adding that Septagon just dropped off a donation prior to the interview with KSIS. "They collect building toys."

And the major new car dealerships also band together to help Community Santa a success: Bryant Motors, W-K Chevrolet, McCarthy Toyota, Rick Ball Ford and William Woody Nissan.All five dealerships participated in "Stuff the Truck," which ran from Nov. 27 through Dec. 4, and included a shiny new red truck on their showroom floor. "They've been awesome," Albrecht stated.

In addition, listeners may see one of several red-and-white polka-dotted Community Santa donations boxes around town. "Money is always helpful,' Albrecht noted. "If donors can't get out and buy toys, they can mail a check to P.O. Box 43 right here in Sedalia, and just make it out to Comunity Santa." The entire staff (about 20 in all) donate their time and talent to the annual Community Santa project. Qualified elderly are also helped by Community Santa, she noted. And every family gets a small gift card to use at Bing's East or West. "Every little bit helps right now," Albrecht said. In addition, Dale Malone at Duke's and Boots has been conducting a bike drive for the kids. "That helps us out immensely," Albrecht stated. "He really likes the idea that kids remember thier first bicycle." He also has people donating money from all over the world, according to Albrecht. "He has quite a network."

Community Santa is also putting together a diaper bag for those families with infants under the age of 12 months.

In addition, every family (above and beyond the Bing's gift certificate) will receive a bag of non-perishable groceries."Open Door is helping us with that," Albrecht concluded.

Thursday, Dec. 10 is distribution day at Community Santa. "These shelves will be depleted," she said.

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