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Learning Center Experience
Tabatha Tasker is the founder of Operation
Santa 2012 in her West Virginia town of Terra Alta. All year long she has been
collecting donations to help provide Christmas gifts and household goods to
children and families in need.
“I was once a single mom. I had
no job and lived in a government apartment…then some years later I bought a
huge house and three weeks before Christmas it caught fire,” she said. “People
stepped in and touched my life and the lives of my children during these times.
Now I am happily married and a full-time mom. I want to help others the way
people helped me.”
Tabatha is also working toward
degree in human services at Kaplan University, and when she graduates she
looks forward to developing a career to help others in need. In the meantime,
she felt she couldn’t just stand by when so many people around her were
struggling. Her town has been hit hard by the economy and closing coal mines.
Tabatha has always been a giving
person. She has five children and two grandchildren and recently adopted two
toddlers. With the support of her family, she has taken in numerous foster
children through the years, and she is known around town for always having her
door open for people in need.
During the holidays she always
took the name of a child from the local Angel Tree—trees around town with
ornaments holding the names of children in need. Last year at her family’s
holiday meal, they talked about an 18-month-old boy who needed help. Tabatha
made sure he had warm clothes, a snowsuit, and some new toys.
“The dream of Santa lived on for
this little boy for one more year,” Tabatha said. “I told my family that I
wanted to do more, I wanted to reach out to others who may not be able to keep
their child’s dream alive.” On December 26, 2011, Operation Santa started from
Tabatha’s kitchen table.
“We live paycheck to paycheck
just like a lot of people,” Tabatha said. “If I had the funds I could do it
alone, but all I can do is donate my time, knowledge, and passion. People have
been so generous, and I am so thankful to everyone.”
Tabatha put notices on Facebook
and spread the word that she was looking for donations. She gathered clothing,
toys, and general household goods. She also held several fundraisers, contacted
local corporations, and contacted local shelters for names of people in need. In
just a few months, Tabatha’s spare room was packed to the ceiling with all of
the donations. Someone then provided the use of a storage locker to hold
Nearly one year later, Operation
Santa 2012 is providing clothing, toys, and household goods to 27 families,
including 70 children. Because food donations are down due to the recent
Hurricane Sandy, Tabatha is still diligently working to collect food goods.
Thanks to juggling motherhood and
her charity, Tabatha says she has become more self-disciplined. She is also
putting her college education to use—her classes at Kaplan University helped
her learn the various steps to put together a nonprofit, and she inspired
several classmates to start their own local Operation Santa 2012 projects.
Tabatha is preparing for her next
step: working in human services. She frequently speaks with social workers at
the food pantries as well as case workers during her adoption process, and
everyone always asks her to call them about a job when she earns her degree
If you are interested in making a
donation to Operation Santa 2012, please visit the Facebook page:
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