By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – The J. D. McCarty Center for children with developmental disabilities will continue their long tradition by hosting its annual Santa’s Workshop on Christmas Day.
“The J. D. McCarty Center is Oklahoma’s center of excellence in the care and treatment of children with developmental disabilities from birth to age 21,” said Greg Gaston, hospital spokesperson. “For the last 72 years, the McCarty Center has been providing the physical, occupational, speech and language therapy that these children need to reach their highest level of function and independence.”
The McCarty Center’s 80-acre campus is located at 2002 E. Robinson Street in east Norman. Positioned next to an 11-acre lake, the Center provides both inpatient and outpatient care.
The J. D. McCarty Center was founded in 1946, by a veterans group called the “40 et 8,” an honor society within the American Legion.
According to Gaston, the group took their name from from French box cars filled with memorabilia that were sent to the US after WWII. On the side of the cars, stenciled in French, were the words ’40 men, or 8 horses.’ These box cars were used to send men or horses to the front lines of battle. The train sent to the US was called “The Gratitude Train.”
When members of “40 et 8” recognized that many siblings of the Center’s patients may not receive a visit from Santa at Christmas, they came up with the idea of hosting a Santa’s Workshop.
As the McCarty Center looks forward to hosting its 70th annual Christmas party in 2018, members of “40 et 8” will once again act as Santa’s elves handing out gifts to the inpatients, staff and their families. The group wants to make sure that no child leaves their party without a gift.
When Santa and his helpers have finished handing out gifts to the inpatients, all children attending the party who are 12 years old and younger will be invited to visit Santa’s Workshop to pick out a gift for themselves.
“To keep this tradition alive, we are asking for toy donations for Santa’s Workshop,” said Gaston. “Any new, unwrapped gift suitable for toddlers through 12 years old would be appreciated. Board games, books, movie DVDs, CDs, dolls, cars & trucks, footballs, basketballs and soccer balls are examples of things that people might donate.”
According to Gaston, any leftover toys in Santa’s Workshop will be used to make sure that kids in the hospital on Christmas day will have a gift to open. Leftover toys will also be used as birthday gifts for kids who are in the McCarty Center during their birthday.
Gift items or checks can be mailed or delivered to the J. D. McCarty Center, 2002 E. Robinson in Norman, 73071, Monday-Thursday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and on Fridays from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Gift donations should arrive by Friday, Dec. 14.