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Phone volunteers needed for Operation Happiness

Operation Happiness is in dire need of people to answer the telephones to register people for this year’s event, beginning Monday.

The annual event distributes food baskets and winter coats to 1,000 families in Clark County just before Christmas.

With the phone lines set to open at 9 a.m. Monday, Clark County Community Services Executive Director Debbie Fatkin said only one person has signed up for a shift.

“It’s an important part of Operation Happiness,” she said. “It’s how up to 1,000 families sign up for it.”

This year, the phone lines will be open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays through Nov. 20. Volunteers have the option to volunteer for the full five-hour shift, or for a half-shift beginning at 9 a.m. or 11:30 a.m., she said.

Volunteers will work from the CCCS building on Taylor Avenue and there will be two people in the room, she said. All volunteers will be screened as they enter the building, and masks will be used, she said.

“It will be a safe place for someone afraid of contracting COVID,” she said.

Volunteers are welcome to sign up for multiple shifts; the one volunteer so far has signed up for 10, Fatkin said.

While answering the phone is the first step and there is a plan in place, Fatkin said they are still working on plans for Operation Happiness Day of Giving on Dec. 22.

“It will be a drive-through event,” she said. “We will use the (school) bus parking lot to wrap traffic around” and not back up on the streets.

Volunteers will place the food boxes in the trunk or rear cargo area of a vehicle, but will not load them into the back seat for safety concerns. If the cargo area is not accessible, families should register to have their food box delivered, she said.

Usually, each family member also receives a new winter coat at Operation Happiness. This year, Fatkin said, the coats will be distributed later through C. C.’s Closet, the CCCS thrift store.

“There are families that depend on us for winter coats for their kids,” Fatkin said. “We didn’t want that to go away.”

For more information, call 744-5034 extension 6 or 7. There is a link to register to volunteer on the CCCS Facebook page.

About Fred Petke

Fred Petke is a reporter for The Winchester Sun. His beats include cops, courts, fire, public records, city and county government and other news. To contact Fred, email fred.petke@winchestersun.com or call 859-759-0051.

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