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Santa Claus Girls to resume gift distribution in 2021 with curbside pickup

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Posted at 4:09 PM, Oct 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-22 17:19:17-04

KENT COUNTY, Mich — Despite the ongoing pandemic, the Santa Claus Girls will not be canceling their Christmas plans this year.

The nonprofit, which has a long history of helping families during the holiday season, had to cancel its gift distribution in 2020 after losing its facility.

"Last year was the first time in 112 years that we could not operate," said Tina Hudson, president of Santa Claus Girls. "And, we were bound and determined, one way or another it was going to happen this year."

Thanks to donated space from an area business, the group plans to shift operations to a curbside pickup this year.

What normally takes the groups months to do- sorting and arranging gifts- will now have to be done in just four days.

"We're working out of West Michigan CDL, and that's a working facility... the owner has been gracious enough to give us the building for Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday."

Hudson said volunteers will be working overtime from December 9- December 12 to make it happen.

"We're going to be busy beavers," she explained. "Where there's a will there's a way, and we're gonna make it work."

The organization typically helps thousands of families in Kent County each year.

Kids are given toys, books and pajamas, along with handmade hats and mittens.

Due to the space crunch, Hudson said the group will be limited to helping around 6,000 kids; which is approximately half the usual amount.

"The parents are so grateful. I mean...they they hug you there's tears in their eyes," said Hudson. "It's an eye-opening experience. And it's an educational experience. And it's a heartwarming experience, especially at the holiday."

The group is hopeful it may also receive a special gift this year.

"If there's a business or something out there, that's able to give us some space after this season, we'd appreciate it so much," said Hudson.

Registration for the Santa Girls 2021 gift distribution began September 1st.

Gifts must be picked up by families on Saturday, December 11, 2021.

Families must register by December 1st, 2021 to receive gifts.

To learn more about the Santa Claus Girls, click here.