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'Operation Holiday' Assistance Program Underway In Wichita

Deborah Shaar
Clothing, food and other donations for Operation Holiday are displayed during a news conference on Thursday.

A Wichita organization that offers a holiday assistance program for low-income people will be using a new distribution warehouse this year.

Inter-Faith Ministries searched for about six months for a new location for its Operation Holiday assistance program after the facility they used last year was sold.

Distribution of clothing, blankets and food will now take place at a warehouse at 2nd and Vine streets in downtown Wichita.

Credit Deborah Shaar / KMUW
Inter-Faith Interim Executive Director Garland Egerton.

Inter-Faith Interim Executive Director Garland Egerton says Operation Holiday has helped low-income people for more than 50 years.

"We serve 13,000 to 14,000 people in three days, so we are literally running a grocery store, a pet store, a toy store to serve the working poor in our community who need a little something extra to help, to make the holidays brighter for them," he says.

Egerton says it takes about $350,000 each year to do Operation Holiday. Cash donations are used to purchase perishable food items through the Kansas Food Bank or to buy grocery gift cards.

He says clothing donations are always needed.

"For donations, we always need coats--large coats and children’s coats," Egerton says. "It’s amazing how many children come through the facility who are in need of coats. We need blankets. Blankets are something we run out of every year. Of course, we also need the food, pet goods and those types of items."

A new component to Operation Holiday this year is the “Feud of the Forces!” competition on Dec. 3. Wichita Police Chief Gordon Ramsay and Sedgwick County Sheriff Jeff Easter and their staffs will be at cross-town locations trying to collect the most donations of food and cash. This friendly competition will take place at Dillon’s stores on Central and Rock and on 21st and Maize Road.

People can submit an application to take part in the assistance program through Dec. 2. Distribution of the donated goods is set for Dec. 15 through 17.

For more information about Operation Holiday, contact Inter-Faith Ministries at (316) 264-9303.


Follow Deborah Shaar on Twitter @deborahshaar

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