Positively Tennessee: McNabb Center’s ‘Dear Santa’ program up and running, how you can help

Positively Tennessee

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — You don’t have to wear a white beard and red suit to be a Santa for a child in need. This year, that need is greater due to the pandemic’s impact on so many families.

The McNabb Center’s annual “Dear Santa” program is up and running and you can help.

Donations of new, unwrapped presents are already coming in: an assortment of brightly colored books; toys and games galore.

Families are starting to receive Christmas goodies thanks to the “Dear Santa” program.

“At the McNabb Center, our main focus is mental health and substance use , and so we have definitely seen an increase in those needs since the pandemic started,’ said Rebecca McKnight, spokesperson for McNabb Center.

Bags and bags of toys aren’t yet enough for the 2,300 kids who are helped by the McNabb Center.

That’s more than double the number the “Dear Santa” program helped last year.

McKnight said, “a lot of families that we serve already are at a lower income level and have a great need, so families have been impacted with job loss, needing to stay home and so people who already have a need have been hit a little bit harder.”

While you’re thinking about joining this wonderful effort, remember most of the toys coming in are for younger kids. Don’t forget the older ones who need us now more than ever.

“A lot of people don’t think about teens. They sort of think about that four to eight-year-old child that’s wanting a gift from Santa. They are teenagers and they are still kids and deserve the opportunity to experience Christmas and we want them to have something as well,” McKnight explained.

For more info on where to drop off new, unwrapped toys and gifts for teens, contact Rebecca McKnight at (865) 329-9176 or rebecca.mcknight@mcnabb.org.

The McNabb Center provides support to more than 30,000 people throughout East Tennessee each year. For more information on services, visit www.mcnabbcenter.org or call 1-800-255-9711.

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