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An anonymous “Ms. Claus” has helped more than 150 Gallatin families by paying off overdue public utilities and electric bills during the holidays.

The Gallatin business owner made two donations totaling more than $17,500 to pay off the past due accounts last month.

“I have been so blessed in my life that I’ve never had to make the choice between heat or food,” said the donor who spoke to the Gallatin News on the condition of anonymity Monday. “Many of these people just needed a little help to help get them ahead.

“It brings tears to my eyes to even think that as fortunate as we really are in Sumner County that the disparity in income is still so great.”

The individual said she was inspired to pay off the account balances after seeing a news story about an anonymous donation that had been made in another state. After talking with her daughter, the two decided doing something similar would be “the best way to help as many people as we could at this time.”

On Christmas Eve, the first donation of more than $7,500 was made to Gallatin Public Utilities and was used to pay for 60 accounts and restore services that had been disconnected, according to city officials.

Another donation totaling more than $10,000 was made to the Gallatin Department of Electricity one week later on New Year’s Eve. The money will be used to pay for approximately 120 past due accounts.

“Gallatin has a strong history of caring for neighbors and this year has really shown how supportive our residents are of each other,” Mayor Paige Brown said about the acts of kindness. “However, a donation this large that impacts so many unsuspecting folks, is quite extraordinary and definitely touches your heart.”

The anonymous business owner said she hopes the bill payments will bring some relief to families and will inspire more people to help others in need locally.

“We are a giving city,” she said. “People will step out to help other folks as often as they physically can. That’s one of the good things about Gallatin.”

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