NEW PORT RICHEY — Christmas is only two days away, and there are still about 40 local kids who might not find anything under the tree.
The Santa's Angel Program of Pasco County, a nonprofit group that collects donations for needy children, has collected gifts for about 200 kids but still has a couple dozen gift requests that have not been filled, program president Lisa Snow said.
"We haven't been turning anyone away," Snow said, noting that gift requests are still coming in.
The program provides presents for children, from babies to teens, who are referred by social service agencies or school guidance counselors. Some are foster kids. Others live in homes that are struggling to make ends meet. All of them rely on the kindness of strangers for their Christmas cheer.
How can you help?
Most of the gift tags can be found on a tree at the Walmart Supercenter at State Road 54 and Little Road, just inside the general merchandise entrance on the right. Purchased items may be left, with the gift tags, at the customer service counter.
Items need to be turned in by 6 p.m. Thursday in order for Snow and her elves to get the presents to children by Christmas morning.
The program made a similar last-minute scramble last year to line up enough gifts. Knowing the sour economy could crimp donations, organizers limited their list to 100 kids but still needed help filling the wishes of about 60 children just days before Christmas.
The community responded with an outpouring of gifts — enough for all the kids on the list, plus some other families in need.
Organizers called last year's response a miracle.
They're hoping for another one this year.