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Kershaw County DSS transforms into ‘Santa’s Workshop’

Posted: December 23, 2011 10:58 a.m.
Updated: December 26, 2011 5:00 a.m.
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Bags and boxes lined the offices and hallways at the Kershaw County Department of Social Services (DSS) last week -- the final week before Christmas.

“It’s like Santa’s workshop around here this time of year,” DSS Director Jeanne Hanna said. “Everyone is busy, but it’s so much fun.”

Every year for the past 14 years, DSS has collected Christmas gifts for families and children in need.
Hanna said DSS employees gathers and organize families, sponsors and donations all while in the midst of their daily duties on the job.

“Our staff here is really incredible,” she said. “They have put a lot of hard work in to make this happen.”
This year, an estimated 300 families were helped.

“It’s all about the children,” Kendra Faile with Human Services said. “Getting to see their faces when they see their gifts makes all the hard work worth it.”
Laradine Harrison agreed with Faile.

“Seeing their reaction is one of the best parts of the job,” she said.

Though many times, Harrison said, she tries to arrange a drop-off for the presents when the children aren’t home, just to make the Christmas experience more “magical.”

“We got so many donations this year, no one should be unhappy with what we were able to provide,” she said.
Faile also said she encouraged individuals and small groups who adopted families to deliver the gifts themselves.

“That way, they see what a difference they are making in the lives of another family,” Faile said.
Hanna recognized other members of the DSS team, Betty Stewart and Elizabeth Maxwell as being “instrumental” in organizing the program.

“These ladies took phone calls, helped match families with sponsors and much more,” she said.

Hanna said she also wanted to thank the Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church for adopting 50 to 75 families every year; Betty Ingles and her sorority Beta Sigma Phi for throwing a holiday party to benefit foster children; Spring Valley High School; the Camden Police Department for adopting 12 children; both the Camden and Lugoff-Elgin Rotary Clubs for donating shoes and socks; and Alesha Hudson with Outreach Bicycles.

“We also want to express our deep appreciation to the countless other individuals, church groups and families that make all of this possible. We couldn’t do any of this without their support,” Hanna said. “It’s always heartwarming to see the response from our community to help others.”

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