Grandparents feel financial pinch at Christmas. York County’s holiday program helps.

The United Way of York County’s Holiday Partners Program brings smiles to thousands of children’s faces come Christmas morning thanks to donor support.

York County area residents have been supporting the holiday program by donating new toys to WRHI’s Toys for Happiness Program and making financial gifts to The Herald’s Empty Stocking Fund to help fill children’s wish lists. The United Way of York County coordinates the effort, which aims to provide toys for every child in need in York County from birth to age 14. This year, 2,000 children are registered.

More than 350 volunteers have spent countless hours sorting, bagging and handing out thousands of toys and hundreds of bikes.

The Holiday Partners Program provides welcome relief for struggling parents, and grandparents, whose children may otherwise not receive Christmas gifts.

Mary McNinch said her empty nest is full again. Like many grandparents, McNinch is raising another generation.

“After raising our three kids, this was supposed to be a more relaxed time of our lives,” McNinch. “It didn’t quite work out that way.”

Her daughter struggled with addiction for years, and when her first child was born, McNinch and her husband stepped in to raise that little girl. They now have custody of their daughter’s other two children, too.

“We want to help our daughter, but she has to help herself. We are trying to get her into a rehab program, but she has to want to go,” McNinch said.

So at age 54, and suffering from COPD and emphysema, McNinch is parenting young children again -- an 8-year-old girl, a 3-year-old boy, and a 15-month-old girl who has never known another home.

“Meanwhile, I’m on disability and my husband is working a lot of hours so we can support these kids,” she said.

The 3-year-old is enrolled in Head Start, and that’s where McNinch found out about the United Way’s Holiday Partners Program.

“His teachers encouraged me to sign them up for the program. I felt a little guilty asking for help, because I know there’s a lot of people out there so much worse off then I am,” she said. “We have a roof over our heads and a vehicle to drive. We may not have much, but we are blessed.

“And, thanks to the Holiday Partners Program, my grandkids will have smiles on their faces on Christmas morning,” she said.

Donor list

Total: $ 10,892 (as of Dec. 19)

Carolyn Yates, Rock Hill, $100

Thomas Williams Jr., Rock Hill, $ 200.00

Mrs. Harold S. Walker, Rock Hill, 50.00

Mary Sheppard, $ 500

Walter Horton, $400

Bruce and Mary Rose Randall, Rock Hill, $25

Frank Majecic, Rock Hill, $20

Madge Duncan, Rock Hill

Paul Bagwell, Sharon, $50

Jane Fleischer, Rock Hill, $250

Joanne Majecic, Rock Hill, $20

Dr. Martha Macdonald, Rock Hill, $35

F. Clinefelter, Rock Hill, $25

Mr. and Mrs. William Petzold, Rock Hill, $25

Anonymous, $30

James and Deborah Hollis, Rock Hill, $50

Harol and Gete Bruce, Rock Hill, $ 200

Northwestern Band Boosters, Rock Hill , $535

Betty C. Dover, Rock Hill, $25

Harry and Virginia Miller, Rock Hill, $100

Anonymous, $500

Mr. Meredith Bynum, Rock Hill, $100

Elaine Copeland, Rock Hill, $50

Lori Kay Tritel, York, $ 100

Barry Grant Productions, Rock Hill, $50

William Anderson Jr., Rock Hill, $50

Bronson Boger, $25

Charles Reuland, $50

Robert and Patricia Cloninger

Ted Williams, $200

Lilian Whitehead, $25

Jeanne Weaver, $10

Ricky and Susan Dove, $50

Anonymous, $100

Mathilde and Wolfgang Pester, $50

Stanley and Rosmarie Janeski, $200

Want to help?

Make checks payable to the Empty Stocking Fund and mail to The Herald, 132 W. Main St., Rock Hill, SC 29731. Donations also may be made online at unitedwayofyc.org/hp_donations.