Registration underway for Operation Happiness

Published 9:30 am Wednesday, November 8, 2023

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On Wednesday, Dec. 21, Operation Happiness returns to Clark County.

To make it happen, Clark County Community Services (CCCS) continues seeking out volunteers.

“Operation Happiness, at its core, is a community event. We just facilitate it,” said CCCS executive director Laci Scarboro. “We need the community’s participation to achieve the goal of feeding our families.”

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Operation Happiness, a yearly endeavor just before Christmas, has long served families of Clark County.

“They are provided with [a] Christmas ham and all of the trimmings that go with it. We also purchase household and personal care items,” Scarboro said, noting that the latter includes toilet paper, laundry detergent, and more. “When they come…they will also receive a coat for each member of the family and a lunch.”

This year’s event will be from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at Emmanuel Episcopal Church at 2410 Lexington Road.

Registration, which opened on Nov. 1 and goes through Nov. 15, can take place by calling (859) 737-3636 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. or doing so in person at Clark County Community Services, located at 30 Taylor Avenue.

“They must register for a food box,” Scarboro said.

Last year, over 500 volunteers assisted with Operation Happiness.

It’s a service that Scarboro insists is needed once more.

Individuals can register to volunteer at the Operation Happiness site:

Opportunities include setting up clothing stands, delivering food to customers, answering phones, assembling boxes, unloading trucks, clean-up and more.

“There’s so many different parts of this. There’s so many ways people can help,” Scarboro said. “If somebody can’t do any of those things, we [also] need prayers and support.”

For Operation Happiness, staff expect more recipients this year than in previous ones, partly due to unfortunate circumstances.

“I’m thinking [of] 1400 families [easily]. I’m basing that off numbers that we are seeing here monthly. We have had more people that live in Clark County come that have never received services before,” Scarboro said. “That just shows that inflated food prices and the economy are really affecting residents.”

Of the families served, approximately one-third are estimated to be elderly or homebound individuals.

Additionally, monthly food prices at CCCS are as high as they’ve ever been.

“The cost to pull this off is definitely the highest it [will ever have] been in the history of Operation Happiness,” Scarboro said.

Thankfully, there are other ways in which individuals can assist.

Monetary donations are welcome, with approximately $50 covering the cost of one family’s food box, though any amount is appreciated.

From Dec. 1 through Dec. 15, canned food drives will also occur at various Clark County Public Schools.

Also, barrels at several local businesses and churches will be set up, allowing suitable coats of different sizes to be donated – with large and extra large highly sought after.

While preparation for Operation Happiness might present its challenges, the benefits are something Scarboro was happy to witness first-hand last year.

When asked what the most significant benefit is, she was quick to respond.

“To ensure that families in need are empowered and enabled to feed their families a Christmas dinner. That’s one worry we can take away from them,” Scarboro said.

She further emphasized the benefits of others’ participation.

“This is really an event by the community for the community,” she said. “This isn’t just a [Clark County] Community Services effort…we couldn’t do it without the volunteers and the help.”