Dear Santa program at Helen Ross McNabb still taking donations

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - More than 2,000 children with connections to the Helen Ross McNabb Center received special gifts through the nonprofit last Christmas.

Organizers are hoping to provide as many or more gifts for East Tennessee children this holiday season. The nonprofit is still accepting toys and cash donations for its Dear Santa program.

Community Relations Coordinator Rebecca McKnight said sponsors help provide gifts for 808 children on a wish list program. Yet, that is less than half the children they plan to help with this year's toy drive.

"In addition to the wish list that we have community sponsors for, we also take in toy drive toys. And those will help us fill the gap for children who maybe didn't get on a wish list or program or had an emergent need that came up after the wish list deadline."

If you or your group can donate to the program this season, you can call the hotline at 865-640-4068.

"The need is always greater than we have the ability to serve," said McKnight.

You can learn more about the Dear Santa program and connect online here.

"We serve individuals who experience mental health and sometimes addiction barriers within their community. And so we're helping children to have a positive Christmas experience," said McKnight.