Gary Whitaker and Shelia Lowhorn are pictured with a work crew from the Macon County Sheriffs Office, who helped them sack all the children’s Christmas presents. (Photo by D. Gregory)

The holidays are here and the Christmas season finds us rejoicing in the birth of Jesus Christ. This glorious occasion is about remembering the bright star that shone over Bethlehem a long, long time ago and out of gratitude to our savior, who was born and then died for us, we should all be aware of those in need. Following in their annual tradition, Santa’s Helpers/Macon Helps, which is spearheaded by Gary Whitaker and Shelia Lowhorn, will bring joy to 230 children this year, and make sure their Christmas is merry and bright by helping out with presents.


Macon Helps took in the names of 387 children this year. Santa’s Helpers helped 230 children and 157 children were helped by churches, individuals and other organizations.
“For many people the holidays are a happy time with family and friends,” said Gary Whitaker, “but unfortunately for many more, it is a time of struggling to bring holiday cheer in difficult times.  In the spirit of the season it is always our goal to help make a real Christmas for those facing hardships.”
Gary says that it is important to help one another and the true spirit of Christmas will live on in our hearts when we reach out to someone less fortunate.
“Originally ‘Shop With the Cops’, Shelia Lowhorn and I took over the charity event after the police officers realized they didn’t have enough time or volunteers to help out with the time consuming program, which we renamed Santa’s Helpers in 2005,” said Gary. “Thanks to Macon Helps sponsorship, we have continued to raise enough money during the year for the children.”
“We want to thank all the merchants in Macon County that helped with this year’s event, especially Indigo Blues,” continued Gary. “We want to extend our thanks also to the Grim Reapers MC, Tooley & Carver, Macon Helps, Mid Tenn. Region AACA in Lebanon, and Sheriff Mark Gammons for letting several of the inmates help us out.”
Shelia Lowhorn said, “Gary works all year long at this and he enjoys helping the kids. I guess he is like a big Santa Claus, he just doesn’t have the gray beard yet. Without Gary I wouldn’t even try to keep doing this and I admire everything he does for the children in Macon County.”
Santa’s Helpers have already started planning for next year’s project, and anyone interested in joining this worthy cause please contact Gary Whitaker, Shelia Lowhorn or Macon Helps. Anyone wanting to make a donation to the program can send it to Santa’s Helpers c/o Macon Helps, 111 Main Street, Lafayette, Tn. 37083.