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COPPERAS COVE — More than 400 children from more than 200 families will have gifts under the tree this Christmas thanks to Blue Santa.
Vesna Coudagan, who heads up the all-volunteer Blue Santa operation, said no applications for assistance were denied.
“All of the applications we received were qualified and we have had a couple more come in after the deadline,” Coudagan said. “But as long as we can fill the requests, we won’t turn anyone away.”
Coudagan estimated $6,000 to $7,000 was raised from the contributed gift cards and monetary donations.
Three large boxes of toys and gift cards were received from the Tri-County Toy Run on Dec. 1. Several churches, civic clubs, local businesses, the Housing Authority, and private citizens donated to the mounds of toys that surround the office space in Cove Terrace Shopping Center.
Director Gail Prestigiacomo of Altrusa International of Copperas Cove said the club has given toys for at least five years and monetary donations for the last three years.
“We make financial donations to Blue Santa, in addition to unwrapped toys, because we know that often times, the teenagers get left out since it may be more difficult to buy gifts for them,” Prestigiacomo said. “We want all the children from the young ones to teenagers to have a wonderful holiday season.”
The toys are donated by Altrusa members and the money donations are from the club.
The Blue Santa Golf Tournament scheduled for Saturday was canceled due to inclement weather, which resulted in a loss of additional funds that would have been used to purchase gifts.
However, Mike Chandler of the Hills of Cove Golf Course said many toy donations were dropped off ahead of the tournament for Blue Santa distribution.
Coudagan said approximately 20 collection boxes plus the donation jars placed throughout Cove would be picked up today for distribution Thursday and Friday. Hours of distribution will be from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Blue Santa Headquarters in Cove Terrace Shopping Center near Sherwin Williams.