12/04/17 — Goldsboro Family Y partners up with community outfits to grant Christmas wishes

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Goldsboro Family Y partners up with community outfits to grant Christmas wishes

By Becky Barclay
Published in News on December 4, 2017 5:50 AM

Fifty families in Wayne County will have a happy Christmas because of the Y's Men program.

This is the 17th year that the Goldsboro Family Y has conducted the program.

"This program is the only one if its kind in Wayne County," said Kriquette Davis, vice president of operations with the Y, who coordinates the program. "Every penny raised goes right to the families."

The Y partners with Wayne County Public Schools, Boys and Girls Club of Wayne County, Wayne Pregnancy Center, Wayne Uplift Domestic Violence Program, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, 3HC, Southeastern Medical Oncology Center and local church to find out which families need help during the holidays, who are not receiving assistance from anyone else.

Ms. Davis said there were 105 families helped by the Y's Men program two years ago.

"It was organized chaos," she said. "We had so many families with six, seven, eight children, so now we do just 50 families. Each family gets $350 base and for every child over two children, the family gets an additional $50 per child."

Once the names of the families are received at the Family Y, invitations are sent out to each family.

Ms. Davis said the families are invited to the event Dec. 10 at 5 p.m., not knowing just how much assistance they are going to receive.

The entire family goes to the event and community volunteers are paired up with a family to take the parent or guardian shopping at either Target or Walmart, using pre-purchased gift cards.

Ms. Davis said most families get the basic necessities, like clothes, coats and even laundry detergent.

"We want the children to have gifts at Christmas, but they also need the necessities they have to have to live, too," she said. "This is an opportunity for us to be able to not so much play Santa to the children; we want them to have gifts, but it takes having detergent to wash the children's clothes."

Ms. Davis said i's really overwhelming for a lot of the parents. And they are very grateful.

And it's not just the parents who are overwhelmed.

"One volunteer last year took the parents shopping then dropped them back off at the Y and said he could not come in because he was crying he was so touched," Ms. Davis said.

While the parents are out shopping, the children stay behind at the Y, where they will do a variety of activities, eat and listen to music.

"For the past five or six years, K&W has fed the children as a donation," Ms. Davis said. "They've had turkey and dressing, but this year they are going to do baked spaghetti. Members of the Lord's Table come in and sing with the kids."

The children are split up into age groups so they are with children their own age.

When the parents get back from shopping, they are reunited with their children. Each family gets a blessing basket of food, which includes various canned items and other nonperishable food, along with a ham donated by the Wayne County Pig Farmers Association.

The canned foods were donations from Y members during its Help the Hungry Challenge.

"It's a workout incentive program," Ms. Davis said. "Instead of them getting rewarded for working out, they give to others."

Each family also receives a Bible and coupons from Chick-fil-A. And they get a free year's membership at the Y for the entire family.

This year, J.C. Penney donated a pallet of socks and underwear for the children.

"And from the families there that night, we take 10 families to work with all year long in a mentoring program," Ms. Davis said. "We will meet with them to determine their needs and map out a plan for the year. We will be able to offer some financial assistance for things like electricity and gas bills, clothing and food. We will make sure that the kids have back-to-school supplies for 2018. The big thing is getting them paired up with someone who can help with local resources. We have a really comprehensive list of resources."

The Family Y still needs volunteers to help at the event Dec. 10. Those interested may call 919-778-8557 to sign up.