By Bonnie Sullivan Finley
Ho Ho Ho! Bonnie Sullivan Finley takes us to the hub of Santa’s volunteer work in Del Norte county: “Operation Santa.” Here, volunteer elves are busily working their holiday magic to enable hundreds of low-income families to enjoy Christmas this year. Happy Holidays! — Todd Metcalf
Wandering through a maze of paper bags stuffed with brightly-decorated presents past tables stacked with Transformers, Legos and dolls waiting to be tucked into their Christmas wrap, one finally reaches Ron Phillips at his desk in a corner of the room.
Referred to as the “head elf,” Phillips is busy taking calls and making arrangements for this year’s “Santa’s Workshop.” A fixture at “Santa’s Workshop Headquarters,” Phillips was spotted at midnight on Black Friday purchasing toys from Wal-Mart with money donated by Smith River Rancheria.
The head elf has become quite proficient at selecting popular items. So what are the most requested toys? “VTech learning toys for the youngest; Baby Alive and Barbies for the girls; and Hot Wheels, Transformers, and Legos for the boys,” Phillips quickly responds. This elf knows his toys!