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YMCA, YHS work together for Angel Tree program

The Inter-Mountain photo by Brooke Binns Children who could benefit from holiday gifts are included on an angel tree, located at the Elkins-Randolph County YMCA. This annual tree is made possible by public volunteers and coordinated by Youth Health Service and the Elkins-Randolph County YMCA.

Editor’s note: The Inter-Mountain’s Comfort and Joy series will continue in each edition leading up to Christmas.

ELKINS — The Elkins-Randolph County YMCA and Youth Health Service have combined their efforts to provide Christmas gifts for 77 local children through their fifth annual Angel Tree program.

Area community members are invited to adopt an angel from the tree to ensure local children have a joyful Christmas.

Sid Gillispie, executive director of the Elkins-Randolph County YMCA, said the public has been “extremely” responsive to this year’s project.

“The public, and Y members, have been extremely helpful with making the angel tree a success,” he said. “We have seen tremendous support from the community, and through everyone’s combined effort, we are going to make this Christmas special for 77 local kids.”

The Youth Health staff refers area children up to age 16 for the program, and the YMCA places an Angel Tree in the Y’s lobby, where area residents have the chance to choose a tag to buy Christmas presents for the kids.

No identifying information about the children is provided to the public, but the YMCA is provided with each child’s age, clothing sizes and information about his or her interests.

Each child is assigned a number, which is given to the YMCA. The number is written on a tag, which is then placed on the Angel Tree.

Individuals or groups can then choose a tag and buy presents for that child. The presents are labeled with the number assigned to that child.

Gillispie noted members of the community, as well as YMCA and Silver Sneaker members, volunteer their time to wrap the donated gifts. Once wrapped, all presents are then taken to YHS to be delivered to children or picked up by their guardians, he said.

The presents then come to Jennifer “J.J.” Johnson, the family service coordinator for the Home Ties Strengthening Families Center, located at YHS, who turns the presents over to the Youth Health staff member who referred the child. The presents are then either delivered to the children, or they come to YHS to pick up the presents.

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