December 16, 2016
Not long after selecting gifts for her children at YWCA Central Alabama’s annual Santa’s Workshop, a mother named Shannon got tears in her eyes thinking about how special this holiday season will be.
“I think they’ll be real excited when they wake up Christmas morning,” she said of her young daughter and son. “If it wasn’t for this, they probably wouldn’t have a Christmas. It gives you the feeling that everything is going to be OK.”
Nearly 600 children who live in area shelters or whose families are experiencing crisis will have fun opening presents this year, thanks to the efforts and generosity of more than 300 volunteers, corporate partners, donors and friends. The majority of the children and their families participated the day of Santa’s Workshop while others were served the following week.
“We are so grateful to all of the companies that held toy drives and to everyone who dropped off checks and donations,” Mary Jane Gibson, coordinator of career and volunteer programs, said. “This is such a special day for our families, and it’s truly a community effort. We are amazed every year by the generosity of all of our elves.”
The event is a favorite of YW clients, staff, Board and Junior Board members and other supporters. Parents get to “shop” for free gifts for their children while the boys and girls create holiday crafts to give to their family members and friends. It allows those who might not otherwise have the means to be able to experience the joy of giving.
The wonderful and creative Belk team once again transformed the gymnasium at the YW into a winter wonderland. Children made purses, draft dodgers, snow globes, holiday cards and other crafts, and they enjoyed lots of goodies in Mrs. Claus’ Kitchen. A crew of volunteers from Home Depot helped the kids build birdhouses, helicopters and miniature skateboards. Lunches were provided for each family, as well.
As they waited to shop, mothers were treated to breakfast provided by the Women Lawyers Section of the Birmingham Bar Association. After the gifts were wrapped by volunteers, the moms also enjoyed holiday music and refreshments while they wrote Christmas cards.
“It was a wonderful day made even more special by those who gave so generously,” YWCA CEO Yolanda Sullivan said. “We are blessed to have so many compassionate friends at the YW. Our hearts are full.”
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