December 18, 2012
Once again, this year, the YWCA Central Alabama was transformed into the North Pole for its annual holiday event, Santa’s Workshop. With the help of more than 200 volunteers, the YWCA was able to make the season a little brighter for homeless families in the Birmingham area on one special day. Thanks to Belk, the nation’s largest privately owned mainline department store company with 301 Belk stores located in 16 Southern states, the elves on their visual design team turned the gymnasium into a winter wonderland – Santa’s Workshop! Belk has a long relationship with the YWCA, that includes icon and former YWCA USA Board Member Sarah Belk Gambell, daughter of W.H. Belk Sr., founder of the Belk Group of stores, who has served as an officer and Director of Belk, Inc.
Santa’s Workshop brings the magic of the holidays to homeless families by offering parents the opportunity to “shop” for free gifts for their children, while children create festive holiday crafts to give to their friends and family members. This year children created blue jean purses, made snow globes out of jars, and built toys and trinkets with the help of Home Depot employees. Of course, they also made some edible goodies in Mrs. Claus’ Kitchen. The children were even able to have their picture taken with Santa!
With the help of personal shoppers, their mothers were able to select the perfect gifts for their children and had all their packages wrapped by YW volunteers. Chris Amerson Events was even there to capture all the magical holiday memories with a Santa’s Workshop photo booth.
The event served over 150 parents and children residing at Salvation Army, Pathways, YWCA Interfaith Hospitality House, S.A.I.L. Project, Olivia’s House, YWCA Transitional Housing, YWCA Family Violence Center, First Light and Jessie’s Place.
Santa’s Workshop would not be possible without its generous donors, civic groups and fantastic volunteers. This year the YWCA Junior Board challenged one another when they found out that we needed more gifts for teens and tweens! One Junior Board member matched donations up to $1,000 and in one day the Junior Board raised $2,000 total for the purchase of gifts for this age group!
On behalf of the families who participated in Santa’s Workshop, a big YW thank you to all those who donated their time, talent and treasures to those who needed a helping hand this holiday season. It was a magical day for everyone involved.
The YW would also like to extend a special thank you to Alabama Power, Belk, Bridgeworth, FOOTMAD, The Home Depot, Jefferson County Library Cooperative, Regions, The Women’s Lawyers Section of the Birmingham Bar, Yates Development and the Zonta Club of Birmingham for their generosity during Santa’s Workshop.
To make an end of the year donation to one of the YW’s programs, please click here.