December 18, 2015
For Venita Jackson, Christmas joy came in the form of a Paw Patrol remote control car. “That’s the one thing my baby boy wanted, and I was so excited when I saw it,” she said. “This has been such a wonderful experience. It’s been a blessing.”
Jackson’s 6-year-old son is one of hundreds of children who will have fun opening presents this year, thanks to the magic of the YWCA Central Alabama’s Santa’s Workshop. The much-loved event allows parents to “shop” for free gifts for their children while the girls and boys make crafts that they can give as gifts to family members, friends or teachers.
“We want everyone to be able to experience the joy of giving,” said Mary Jane Gibson, the YWCA's volunteer coordinator who organizes the annual event. “We are so fortunate to have such wonderful volunteers and donors who help make this such a special day for our families.”
More than 500 women, children and families who are living in area shelters or experiencing crisis had a fun-filled day at the YW. The creative team at Belk transformed the gymnasium into a winter wonderland for the children, who made snow globes, felt hats, homemade cards and other crafts. Volunteers from Home Depot were on hand to help them build birdhouses and toolboxes, as well.
Upstairs, the parents selected gifts from tables filled with games, puzzles, stuffed animals, dolls, blocks and books that the community donated to help those in need. As they waited to select toys and clothes, the mothers were treated to breakfast, which was provided by the Women Lawyers Section of the Birmingham Bar Association. Sack lunches were also provided for each family.
“This has been such a fun day,” Jackson said. “The funds are kind of short and I’m trying to get Christmas and make sure the bills are all paid. This helps a lot, and I really appreciate it.”
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