YMCA members, staff collect items for 12 needy families
Published 10:55 am Monday, December 14, 2015
A dozen local families will have a happier holiday thanks to the efforts of staff and members of the Niles-Buchanan YMCA.
Hundreds of items, including Christmas dinners and new toys, were collected over a period of 12 days at the local fitness center on Front Street in Niles.
Lacey Peters, YMCA fitness director, said the items would be donated to 12 needy families identified by the Niles Salvation Army.
“I don’t think I’ve ever experienced the level of giving that I’ve seen through this,” she said.
Peters said she did an adopt-a-family-for-Christmas program in the past and wanted to get the YMCA involved on a larger scale.
YMCA staff formed teams and encouraged members to donate items based on each family’s wish list, which was submitted to the YMCA by the Salvation Army.
YMCA members and staff contributed to the effort, which was described as contagious by those involved.
In no time, a portion of the YMCA’s hallway was filled with gifts and food, sparking even more interest from members who walked past the ever-growing donation pile.
Denise Peters, vice president of YMCA programs, said a man in his early 20s was inspired to donate $200 to the cause.
“It’s been very emotional for all of us,” she said.
Lacey said the donation event had the unexpected benefit of bringing together groups of members who otherwise wouldn’t have interacted with each other.
“It has built more community in our building,” she said.
Each donation box contained items needed to make a full Christmas dinner and three new gifts per person in the family.
The items will be dropped off at the Niles Salvation Army for distribution to the families.