Mental Health America

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Operation Santa Claus Celebrates 59 Years of Service

In 1952 Alice Kidd founded Operation Santa Claus, which is Alabama’s 57-year-old gift drive for persons with mental illness.  By soliciting gifts and financial support from her friends and other volunteers, Ms. Kidd provided Christmas gifts for patients at Bryce Hospital in Tuscaloosa.  Since that time, the program has spread to the state’s other mental health facilities.

The goal of the Board of Directors of Mental Health America in Montgomery is to continue to expand upon this wonderful tradition by providing as many gifts as possible to adults (within the tri-county area), who are in recovery from a mental illness.  Last year over 600 gifts were provided and this year we hope to provide even more, andMental Health America of Alabama affiliates will provide over 4,000 gifts statewide. This year, Montgomery's Mayor, Todd  Strange and Probate Judge Reese McKinney are serving as the honorary local chairpersons and Zelia Baugh, Director of the State Department of Mental health, is the State honorary chairperson.  They will be joined by Susan Chambers, Director of Greil Memorial Psychiatric Hospital, other supporters from the State Department of Mental Health, and Mental Health America of Alabama affiliates on November 3, from 2 to 4 p.m. at Greil Memorial Psychiatric Hospital for the official kick-off press conference/reception.   Charlie Colvin will once again serve as Santa Claus and present gifts to the honorary chairpersons and other dignitaries.  

We are so grateful for the River Region’s continued support of Operation Santa Claus – this program steeped in history.  The only way possible for us to make wishes come true for these deserving individuals is with the support and active participation of the entire community – local churches, schools, businesses and individuals. Please help ensure that no one is forgotten during the holidays by adopting a client, donating NEW and UNWRAPPED items (suggested on the attached wish list), or you may send a monetary donation. A volunteer of Mental Health America in Montgomery will be happy to shop on your behalf. Consider a corporate sponsorship or remember someone with a memorial contribution.  You may also volunteer by placing a decorated collection box or bin in your church, school or business.  Please assist us by delivering gifts to Mental Health America in Montgomery, 1116 South Hull Street.

The real enemies of individuals in recovery from a mental illness are loneliness and isolation.  The mentally ill are often the forgotten members of our society.  And they are forgotten more during the Christmas season than at any other time during the year.  Help us make sure that they are remembered in a special way…support Operation Santa Claus today.

See wish list below.

Operation Santa Claus


We will also be in need of volunteers to help with wrapping gifts.

*Daytime Wrapping:  Monday, November 21, 2011 from 8:30 a.m. until ?

*Nighttime Wrapping:  Friday, December 2, 2011 from 6:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m.

*Dates are tentative, depending upon when all of the shopping is finished, but at this time, we think these dates will work.