'Mountain Santa' preparing for Christmas

HARLAN, Ky. (AP) - One of Santa's helpers lives in eastern
Kentucky and goes by the name of Mountain Santa.
Mike Howard of Wallins has been helping families in Harlan
County for the past 34 years, delivering brightly wrapped gifts to
people in Kentucky's mountain region where twisting roads make
trucks more appropriate than sleighs.
"I started with one truck," Howard said. "It has just kept
growing through the years. In 2008, we gave out 115 pickup truck
loads of toys and 3,500 treat bags."
Most of the donations for the Christmas project come from
Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee.
"I have volunteers that come in to help me wrap the toys,"
Howard said. "They also bring gifts to distribute with them when
they come. That really helps me out a lot. This has gotten so big,
I just couldn't do it all myself."
Howard's wife, Barbara, and son, Jordan, also are heavily
involved.


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