Secret Santas needed for abused children

"Spread the joy of the holiday season by becoming a Secret Santa for needy children," said Child Advocacy Center director Sharon De Boer. "The Child Advocacy Center is looking for holiday sponsors to make Christmas a joyous time of the year for needy kids."

The holidays can become a burden for many families served by the Child Advocacy Center. For example, a mother and her three children fled their home because their 8 year old daughter was being sexually abused. Now her mom is now the sole provider and struggling to make ends meet. She is worried there will be no Santa this year.

"Please consider becoming a Secret Santa for a needy Cannon County family," said Cannon County Coordinator Cassell Galligan-Davis. "Many of the families we work with at the Child Advocacy Center struggle to make ends meet. Some of them are single parents whose children have been physically or sexually abused. Others are grandparents who are caring for their grandchildren because the child's parents are addicted to drugs or not involved in their children's lives. As a result, the parents and grandparents struggle daily to put food on the table, and to keep the heat on in the cold winter months. The Christmas holidays are a particularly difficult time for these families. For many of our families, the Secret Santa program is the only opportunity for their children to experience the magic of Christmas."

Your generosity helps provide a sense of normalcy for families who have been through so much. There are three ways that you can get involved this holiday season:

• Sponsor an individual family with holiday gifts for the family and gift cards for food.

• Sponsor an individual family with a Visa, Wal-Mart, or grocery store gift cards.

• Sponsor the Child Advocacy Center through a special holiday donation or in-kind contribution.

The Child Advocacy Center is a 501c3 non-profit agency and all contributions to the Secret Santa program are tax deductible. The Center works as a multidisciplinary team with the Department of Children's Services, law enforcement, and the District Attorney's Office to investigate and prosecute child abuse cases and help children and families heal from the trauma.

For information on how you can be a part of the magic of Christmas as a Secret Santa to an abused child, contact Cassell Galligan-Davis at the Cannon County Child Advocacy Center at (616) 563-9915 or Jennifer Gamble at the Child Advocacy Center in Rutherford County at (615) 867-9000.