WICHITA, Kansas – Candice Hughes has been a loyal operation holiday volunteer since she first started helping out 16 years ago.
“I did it for a couple hours, then that Saturday I did it for the whole day and I’ve been back ever since,” she said.
She’s one of many who’ve spent countless hours in and out of the Operation Holiday headquarters during the last two months enthusiastically sorting clothes, food, and toys.
“Without volunteers, whether they’re just donating or working, we couldn’t do this,” said Hughes. “There’s just no possible way.”
Preparations are nothing compared to the army of volunteers who are needed for distribution later this week.
“You have people restocking coats, you have people cleaning up, and I mean it’s amazing,” Hughes said.
As much work as it is she says the joy of giving back is worth the long hours.
“Everybody needs help at some time and we’re happy to do it!”
They ask for nothing in return, except for donations and some much needed rest once the last gifts have been given away.
“By three o’clock [on Saturday] you’re like, ‘Oh my gosh! I need a nap!’”
Distribution starts Thursday and goes through Saturday. As those volunteers continue to prepare they’re still hoping for more donations. So far, they’ve reached $180,000 of their $350,000 goal to help buy food and vouchers for fresh food from Dillon’s.