Santa and Mrs. Clause stand around many bags for Giving Tree Gifts.

This year, the James P. Gills YMCA’s (Gills YMCA) togetherhood committee kicked off its Season of Giving event on November 3rd. It ended on December 9th at the annual Breakfast with Santa event. The YMCA togetherhood committee is comprised of 20 members and is focused on uniting the YMCA and its community.  

The committee works with local elementary schools and families participating in the Y's Financial Assistance program to identify children in need and provide them with gifts from their Christmas wish list.  

Families from Longleaf Elementary, Seven Springs Elementary, Seven Springs Middle, Sunray Elementary, Odessa Elementary, and Pepin Academy were invited to attend the Breakfast with Santa event. This year, we served 111 families and over 300 children in the West Pasco community.  

Venessa Finazzo, the Strategic Alignment chair at the James P. Gills YMCA, shares, "I love the Seasons of Giving event because it's so impactful to our community. It helps many struggling families during the holiday season."  

She adds, "I received so many messages of thanks, and heard heartfelt stories of parents sharing how they have been kept awake at night not knowing how to provide Christmas gifts for their children. We could see the children's smiles and giggles as Santa gifted them Christmas presents. The tears of gratitude in the parent's eyes and the release of pressure make you truly understand the season's meaning."  

Michael Whitten, Executive Director at Gills YMCA, comments, "We get to see parents have relief knowing their children will have something during the holidays. I look at this day to serve our families. Our Annual Breakfast with Santa event is an amazing closure to bring kids and families together to spread joy."  

You can strengthen our community by volunteering or donating today and providing a child in need with the gift of swim lessons, summer camp or even a Y membership!  

Published: December 19, 2023

Category: Blog