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YWCA, Megan’s Box Foundation team up to make Christmas merrier

PHOTOS PROVIDED YWCA volunteers prepare toys for the Megan’s Box Foundation recently at the YWCA facilities on Fourth Street.

Who doesn’t love the holidays? Pretty lights are all strung up, people are baking, decorating, and giving away special gifts. Many say it’s one of the happiest times of the year. But it can be quite easier to get caught up in the magic of the holidays and forget that some individuals may not find the holiday season as joyous. They may not have a permanent place to call home. They may not have a safe place to call home.

Knowing this, the YWCA ensures the magic of the holiday season is still found. As the staff effortlessly work to make our building as homey and festive as possible for everyone seeking our services this time of year, there are feelings of warmth and joy spread throughout. And while it may not be what some are used to during the holidays, for a moment, some may forget they are living in a shelter.

Knowing the holidays can be extra tough on those we serve, the YWCA is humbled annually by the generosity of our community. Our building receives a variety of donations throughout the year, but there are unique ones, geared specifically for holiday joy, that really make the season special for those in our programs.

Megan’s Box Foundation is the largest gift donation that the YWCA receives for the holidays. Over the last several years, the nonprofit Christmas project has collected and donated over 1,000 gifts for the children at the YWCA. From newborn to pre-teen, the gifts are able to be given as Christmas presents for the kids living within the YWCA programs.

While Megan’s Box Foundation adjusted their donation process through the pandemic, they provided another means for the YWCA to engage volunteers in our holiday needs. For safety reasons, the gift donations to us came unwrapped. Thankfully, all wrapping supplies were donated by Megan’s Box, which allowed YWCA supporters to play a role in the bringing joy to those living at the YWCA as they personalized each gift they wrapped.

Another cherished holiday donation comes to us from the ladies of WAWHO, We Are Women Helping Others. For a number of years, this caring group has donated gifts to the YWCA, specifically for the adult residents.

The ladies of WAWHO love knowing their gifts are left on the doorsteps of each of our residents’ rooms on Christmas Eve. Those staying with us awake with large smiles when they see a personal gift left just for them. This year, WAWHO was kind enough to prepare a donation of a robe and a prepackaged bag of cookies for each shelter resident in the building.

And let’s not leave out our faithful volunteers. They are also such a huge help during this time of year. While volunteering during Covid has not been an easy task, the YWCA has not let that stop us from finding creative ways to host our dedicated supporters they wish to give their time. Not only did they help decorate The Boutique for the holidays, they also supported our COVID-friendly efforts as we offered a holiday meal for our past and present clients.

Although this year has been difficult for many, we were able to make this holiday season special for the clients who call the YWCA home. Thank you to all in our community who help support the mission of the YWCA in empowering women and eliminating racism. You help us make a difference to hundreds of clients each year.

If you or someone you know has experienced domestic violence, sexual assault, other violent crimes or homelessness, call our free and confidential 24/7 hotline at 1-800-326-8483. To learn more about our programs and how you can help, visit our website at www.ywcawilliamsport.org.

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