Operation Santa keeps Christmas merry

Contrary to popular belief, Santa Claus’s elves can most likely be found at the Carpenter’s Union Hall No. 1136 in Kettle Falls, as opposed to the icy climbs of the North Pole. Judy Davis and her small, but loyal group of volunteers are back at it again, resurrecting Operation Santa (OS) for the Christmas season. Operation Santa is a non-profit group that collects and accepts donations of new and gently used toys, clothing, household items and other wares, then sets up shop in the union hall in December to distribute items to area fami¬lies in need of a merry Christmas. Davis, 71, who started the annual program 33 years ago, says that things are looking a little better this year in terms of donations, thanks in part to the generosity of the individuals, organizations, surrounding communities, and the 2nd annual Ugly Christmas Sweater Party put on by Kettle Falls resident and philanthropist Eric Weatherman. “If it wasn’t for all these different people stepping up to donate, including the union for letting us use their building, there would be no Operation Santa,” says Davis. “I have no doubt that’s what keeps us going.” Last year, OS served 927 people, not counting the 150 people who came in just for clothes, and not Christmas gifts. Since OS opened its doors Nov. 30, the organization has served about 100 people so far this year. *To read the complete story, check out the front page of this week's Statesman-Examiner!