Christmas program will again serve hundreds
YATES COUNTY--The annual Yates Christmas Program, formerly Christmas for the Needy, is preparing once again to bring toys, clothes and food to families in need during this holiday season.
This year's distribution days will be Wednesday and Thursday, Dec. 7 and 8. The U.S. Armory, located at 198 Cornwell St. in Penn Yan, will distribute new items by appointment only. Appointment cards with each shopper's date and time have been mailed out.
The First Presbyterian Church, located at 211 Main St. in Penn Yan, will distribute gently used donated items from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 7 and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 8, with shopping open to anyone starting at noon.
"I'm very confident it will be another very successful year thanks to the generosity and continued support of our caring community," said Donna Johnston, the program's executive director.
By mid-November, 600 children were registered for the program, she said.
Last year, more than 320 families were served by the program, according to Mickie Christiansen, its publicity chairman.
"All the Yates Christmas Team has been working for months," Johnston said, pointing out that they usually have close to 300 volunteers over both days at the two locations. That includes students from the Dundee school district who will be helping Monday and Tuesday and Penn Yan school district students who will be helping Thursday, she said.
To participate in this year's program, an application had to have been completed before Oct. 31.
Starting as Christmas for the Needy, the program has been a Yates County institution for more than 30 years. It is run entirely by volunteers and on donations from county residents and friends, and there are no paid staff or administrative costs.
Through the annual program, children and families are provided with new clothes, personal care items, toys, books and family games.
Collection boxes are at every bank, Walgreens, Dunkin' Donuts and Snap Fitness, and also at Dollar General in Dundee, Johnston said.
To make a tax-deductible donation, checks should be payable to Yates Christmas Program and mailed to Yates Christmas Program, P.O. Box 145, Penn Yan, NY 14527.