Judy Sinclair is the driving force behind the Moshannon Valley YMCA’s Christmas program. The operation started more than 35 years ago.
“Everything is through donations. Everything…Churches, schools, everything. Even the money to buy the turkeys and stuff is donated money,” Sinclair said.
Sinclair said it all started with a phone call from a local cable company.
“They had a special one year one Christmas and they said that ‘You get HBO if you bring a toy in for a child.’ So, they had all these toys and didn’t know what to do with them. So they called the ‘Y,’ ‘Do you know people who need toys for Christmas?’ That’s where is started,” she said.
Presents donated will help over 200 families and 500 children wake up with smiles on Christmas day.
“I didn’t really have the money to go get my kids presents, so I came here. And it’s a really good thing that they do this,” parent Brittany Graham said.
Schools throughout the region submit a list of kids in need to the YMCA. Graham said if this program didn’t exist Christmas would be quite different.
“Really small. Cause I’m the only one working so…it would be really small. And I’m sure it would be small for everybody if they didn’t have this program,” Graham said.
For Sinclair, helping these children is like helping her own family.
“Honey, I know all these kids. And some of them, I know their parents…sometimes I don’t even have to ask, if they’re eligible, because I know what they’re going through,” Sinclair said.
But there’s one thing that keeps her motivated though months of planning.
“That, that’s how you do it. You do it for the kids,” Sinclair said.
All so they can have a Merry Christmas.
More than 150 families were also given full Christmas dinners.