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United Way of York County’s Holiday Partners volunteers go ho, ho, ho

Ernie Wright of York loads a bicycle into a car for a family that is receiving Christmas gifts for children through the Holiday Partners program.
Ernie Wright of York loads a bicycle into a car for a family that is receiving Christmas gifts for children through the Holiday Partners program. jbecknell@heraldonline.com

With Christmas just a week away, volunteers with the United Way of York County’s Holiday Partners have been busy making sure hundreds of children have a joyful Christmas morning.

Volunteers were loading bags filled with toys and new bicycles into cars and vans Thursday and Friday, as recipients of the York County holiday toy project for needy families came to pick up their gifts.

“It’s just one way to give back to the community,” said Donnie Shulter, a volunteer at the York gift pick-up site Thursday. On Friday and Saturday, recipients were to pick up their gifts in Rock Hill.

The United Way’s Holiday Partners is a collaborative effort between The Herald’s Empty Stocking Fund and WRHI’s Toys for Happiness, providing toys for children across York County.

The program serves families in need with children from birth to age 14.

Holiday Partners expects to serve 681 families and 1,577 children this year, said project coordinator Jeanie Dubrouillet. Donors contributed cash through the Empty Stocking Fund and toys through Toys for Happiness to help the families provide Christmas gifts for their children.

Volunteers packed gifts for each child of qualified families who applied to the project, Dubrouillet said. They chose the gifts based on information provided by the family about each child’s interests.

Each family could request a bicycle for one child, she said. Requests for bicycles are not guaranteed, but go into a random drawing.

Tyler Wright, a 20-year-old University of South Carolina student from York, was helping out at the York site as families came to pick up their gifts.

“A lot of these families do need some help,” Wright said. “I think everybody should have a Christmas.”

Morgan Tolson, 21, another USC student, was helping for the second consecutive year.

“It’s really rewarding,” she said. “I really enjoyed doing it last year, and I want it to be a tradition.”

Wright’s grandfather, Ernie Wright of York, also was a returning volunteer.

“We help a lot of people that are deserving,” he said.

Cynthia Segreti, a volunteer from the Bank of York, said she was glad to help the families.

“I feel bad for kids that don’t get a Christmas,” Segreti said. “Every child should have a Christmas. You’re only little once, and those are your memories.”

Jennifer Becknell: 803-329-4077

Want to help?

▪  Donate to The Herald’s Empty Stocking Fund by mailing donations to or dropping them off at The Herald, 132 W. Main St., Rock Hill, SC 29730. Checks should be made to Empty Stocking Fund, c/o UWYC. For more information on how to contribute, call 803-329-4052.

▪  Donate to WRHI’s Toys For Happiness by dropping off new, unwrapped toys in collection boxes at locations around York County. Local sites include WRHI/Interstate 107 radio stations, 142 N. Confederate Ave., Rock Hill; and the United Way of York County, 226 Northpark Drive, Suite 100, Rock Hill. For information on how to get a donation box placed, call WRHI’s Corree Carelock at 803-324-1340.

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