12/11/17 — Y's Men deliver

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Y's Men deliver

By Becky Barclay
Published in News on December 11, 2017 5:50 AM

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Eloise Briley and Denise Stevens prepare plates of food for the children waiting for their parents to return from shopping Saturday at the Goldsboro Family Y during the 17th annual Y's Men program.

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Corey Wilson picks up one of the hams to give to a family in need during the Y's Men program Sunday at the Goldsboro Family Y.

Laquetta Cox bought a lot of clothes and toiletries for her four children.

The single mother of four, Kiarra Cox, 17, Tiarra Cox, 17, Quanya Cox, 16, and Jaheim Jones, 14, doesn't have a tree to put the gifts under. The family has been homeless for the past six months, but at least her teenagers have some of the necessities they desperately need.

Through the Y's Men program at the Family Y, her children will still have a Christmas this year.

"We are in and out of motels or we sleep in our truck," Ms. Cox said. "I don't have a job right now, but I'm looking for one."

This was her second year of participating in the Y's Men program. She found out about it last year through the school counselor.

"Last year it was awesome," Ms. Cox said. "It was a blessing. My children were happy.

"I think it's a good program, good for the kids, parents. It brings joy to the children, especially for the kids who are less fortunate. It's a beautiful program."

This is the 17th year the Family Y has held the program. Each year, 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 churches to find out which families need help during the holidays, who are not receiving assistance from anyone else, said Kriquette Davis, vice president of operations with the Y, who coordinates the program.

"This program is the only one if its kind in Wayne County," she said. "Every penny raised goes right to the families."

The event was held Sunday at the Y. The entire family went to the Y's Men program. Community volunteers were 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 each year, 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."

This was Karen Stallings and Austin Terrell's first year of volunteer with the Y's Men program. They heard about the program from a friend who's in Bible study with them and encouraged them to participate. The two were paired with father and took him to Target.

She said the father got some things the family needed and some Christmas presents for his children.

"It's the most amazing feeling," Ms. Stallings said. "You always think about getting presents at Christmas, but giving is the most amazing feeling. That's the entire reason for the season -- giving. It's just so much more important to me than even getting a present. It definitely puts everything into perspective. There's an entire world out that that needs other people."

Terrell said at first the father was a little quiet, not knowing exactly what to expect, trying to figure out what the process was.

"He was very appreciative and very excited when we explained it to him," he said. "As much as it helps him out, it helps us out as well. I now made a connection with somebody I didn't know and was able to help him out. It was a great feeling."

It was also Naisha Coley's first time volunteering with the Y's Men program.

"I wanted to be able to connect with the community and connect with the family this time of year," she said. "I know it's rough for some families."

Ms. Coley took a singe mother of three out shopping.

"I think she was kind of nervous at first," she said. "She focused on her kids, which was cool. I told her at the end that maybe she should buy something for herself, and she said maybe she would."

While the volunteers took the parents out shopping, the children were treated to a meal and did various activities back at the Y.

Lenay Salley, 17, was shooting hoops in the gym.

"I heard that there was an organization where they help families that are less wealthy than others to help give them gifts for Christmas," she said.

Her 4-year-old sister, Aerianna, and 2-year-old brother, Louandrew, were having fun while waiting on Mom to return.

"I don't know exactly what my mom's doing while we are here," Miss Salley said. "It's like a secret Santa-type deal. I thank this organization and everybody who helped."

Quentavius Barnes was playing basketball while his mother shopped for him and his 10-year-old brother, Zykerion.

"This is our second year in the program," he said. "That first year I didn't know what to expect. I was surprised. We got a lot of new stuff. I like this program."

In addition to being able to shop with a $350 gift card, each family also received a Bible, coupons from Chick-Fil-A, a year's free membership to the Y, socks and underwear donated by JCPenney and a box of food, including various canned items and other nonperishable items, along with a ham donated by the Wayne County Pig Farmers Association.