Dozens of Utah companies aim to bring Santa to thousands of families with Operation: Santa’s Stash

Dec 1, 2023, 1:00 PM

SALT LAKE CITY — Flipping the calendar into December and the holiday season, finding ways to give and be a blessing to someone else is top of mind.

Right now, dozens of Utah companies are coming together to make Christmas happen with the goal of serving 10,000 families in the state.

Last year, KSL TV’s Karah Brackin talked with Paul Shin and his networking organization, Tacos Together, which helped a 5-year-old little boy in Utah battling cancer set a world record in building what was then the largest blanket fort.

This year, Shin got word that caught him offguard.

“For the first time in my married life, I had to sit down with my wife and say, ‘Look, I don’t think we can make Christmas happen this year… I got a notice I’d been sent to collections for a $1,100 phone bill that I had no idea existed,” Shin said.

Shin did not know it then, but that was the start of what is now a mission to help other families this Christmas.

“As a father, it was the first time I really got to experience this. Like, how do you tell your children, when you have four young kids, like, how do you tell them Santa’s not gonna come this year?” Shin said.

Fast forward, Shin said he posted on LinkedIn, asking for help and looking to get a conversation going with the phone company.

That post took off and ended with an email from the cell phone company CEO and collections — reversing everything.

“Because of the community, my Christmas was saved, and I felt very strongly that there are families here in Utah that are going to struggle with a Christmas. Like, I had to give back,” Shin said.

Enter Operation: Santa’s Stash — an initiative, directed by Shin, which is bringing together nearly 40 companies who want to help bring Santa to 10,000 families this Christmas.

“This year, we wanted to help on a broader scale,” said Operation: Santa’s Stash codirector Becca Lough.

She said it is important to look out for your neighbors and community.

“I saw that maybe you were looking at this. I have the capacity to buy. I don’t want the credit of it, I just want you to be able to have the life that you need,” Lough said.

New toys, books and items with an education focus are at the top of the list of needs to go to nonprofits and families with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Utah and the Salt Lake Education Foundation.

In a season of giving, small acts make big changes.

“I think, like, ‘I’m just one guy. Like, what can I do? The problems too big.’ I think the reality, right, like, how we change the world is that we just help our neighbor, and if we just help our neighbor, we change everything,” Shin said.

Operation: Santa’s Stash will be accepting only new donations. The top of their list includes toys, books, and educational items, which can be dropped off at any Kiln location into a designated lobby bin.

Kiln locations:

  • Salt Lake City: 26 S Rio Grande Street No. 2072
  • Provo: 412 W. Rivers Edge Drive
  • Lehi: 2701 N. Thanksgiving Way No. 100

A public event to celebrate the initiative is set for Thursday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the UVU Lehi Campus.

To learn more about how to get involved with Operation: Santa’s Stash, you are encouraged to click here. For other inquiries, please email becca@solvdllc.com. To learn more about SOLVD, one of the many groups and companies partnering with the initiative, click here.

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Dozens of Utah companies aim to bring Santa to thousands of families with Operation: Santa’s Stash