Secret Santas Brighten Christmas

Thursday, 20 December 2018

Cannon Beta Club Members Help Santa

“The kindness and generosity of the Cannon County community never ceases to amaze me,” said Child Advocacy Center director Sharon De Boer.  “With all of the hustle bustle and everyone’s long to do lists this holiday season, good people make time to bless others with the true spirit of Christmas.  This is the 10th year of the Cannon County Secret Santa program.  Thirty-eight needy children and their families were blessed with the magic of Christmas.”
For most Cannon County children, the holidays are filled with joy and anticipation – writing their letter to Santa, peeking through packages under the tree, and shaking boxes to guess what’s inside. Sadly, there families like those served by the Child Advocacy Center, whose season of joy is often overshadowed by the emotional and financial toll of child abuse.  “Most people do not realize the financial impact of child abuse,” said Cannon County Coordinator Cassell Galligan-Davis. “That is where the Cannon County Child Advocacy Center comes in. Through our Secret Santa program, we invite families, churches, businesses, and civic groups to make the holidays brighter for families in need.”
Fifteen Secret Santas provided gifts, clothing, and food for needy families. Holiday sponsors ranging from the Woodbury Grammar School Beta Club to the National Guard thoughtfully chose items that will create lasting happy memories for children.  “Part of being in the National Guard is about selfless service,” said SFC Karen Potts, of the Tennessee Recruiting and Retention Battalion for the National Guard. “Sponsoring a family each year continues to be our way of giving back to the community,”
“Many parents and grandparents struggle to put food on the table, to keep their home warm in the winter.  They don’t have Christmas trees towering over stacks of presents. Many don’t even have a tree,” said Child Advocacy Center accountant Jessica Wauchek. “The Secret Santa program is their one and only chance to give their children a truly authentic Christmas holiday.”
This week, Galligan-Davis delivered gifts to the Secret Santa families. Astonished and taken aback by the generosity of the sponsors, there were hugs and tears of joy as Galligan-Davis unloaded giftwrapped packages at house after house.
From a grandmother living on a fixed income to the single mom who was originally too proud to accept the gifts, but later called crying because a financial emergency hit unexpectedly, families from every walk of life and served by the Cannon County Child Advocacy Center were delivered gifts.
The Child Advocacy Center serves victims of child abuse, child sexual abuse, and drug endangered children and their non-offending parents, grandparents, and family members.  In the last 19 years, the Child Protective Investigative Team, consisting of the Child Advocacy Center, Department of Children’s Services, law enforcement, and the District Attorney’s Office have worked together assist over 20,0000 individuals in Cannon and Rutherford Counties and trained over 10,000 adults in both counties how to protect children from child sexual abuse.  
“Child abuse does not stop because it is Christmas.  The Child Advocacy Center serves new families every day.  Some of them are needy families that still need help for Christmas,” continued Galligan-Davis. The Center is accepting Piggly Wiggly, Dollar General, and Wal-Mart gift cards to give to last minute needy families this holiday season.  Secret Santas can drop gift cards off the the Center located at 214 West Water Street, Woodbury.  Arrangements can be made to drop them off before or after normal business hours by calling 615-563-9915.
“The Cannon County Child Advocacy Center is truly grateful for all of our Secret Santas,” concluded DeBoer.  “They have enriched Christmas for needy families and made a difference in the lives of Cannon County child abuse victims.  We hope that they were blessed by the experience this Christmas season.”