Operation Hope began 10 years ago in Summit County and just “wrapped up” another year of making Christmas more magical for those in need. This toy, clothing and book drive is headed up by the Christian Center of Park City, or CCPC.
Operation Hope began by serving less than 100 children and operated much like a Sub-for-Santa. Those who wanted to donate would purchase specific things for the tag they were given, IE a toy for a five-year-old girl. Then the gift would be delivered to that specific child. After several years of this method, it was decided that gifts could be more personalized and recipients would feel more independent if they could choose the items that are best for their children.
Operation Hope eventually grew to serve families in both Summit and Wasatch County. Its size in recent years has made it necessary to operate in both places. In Wasatch County, many local organizations help to make these efforts a success. These include Wasatch Community Alliance, Mt. Fellowship Church, Santa’s Helpers and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This year, Operation Hope gave to more than 700 children in Wasatch County alone.
Operation Hope Goals
Pete Stroughton, Director of Programs for the CCPC, has been part of the program from the beginning. He stated, “Some of the big goals for Operation Hope are to encourage recipients to get involved, and also to protect their dignity through this process.” The current method lets parents surprise their children on Christmas morning. A children’s playroom is provided while the parents shop. Someone who wants to give back after receiving gifts in the Park City area can choose to volunteer at the Heber City shopping day (and vise-versa).
The entire program is completely free to families in need. It includes education about community resources as well as gift wrapping, snacks for kids during Christmas break and a Christmas dinner. Around 300 volunteers contributed hundreds of man-hours on Friday, December 20 and Saturday, December 21 to prepare and carry out this large-scale service.
To get involved next year, visit https://www.ccofpc.org/operation-hope/