Voluntary Action Center Seeking Sponsors

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COLUMBIA - The Voluntary Action Center is looking for more sponsors for the families it helps during the holiday season.

Every Christmas, the VAC helps thousands of Columbia families in need. This year it is trying to help 1200 families.

The push for sponsors began in September but it is still 136 sponsors short of helping every family. Most of the sponsors every year have done it a previous year.

"We have gotten a good response from sponsors who are going to sponsor each one of these families but we are short a little bit so we need some folks to help us out and sponsor these last few families," said Executive Director Nick Foster.

Even though all the families have not been taken care of Foster does not fault those who might give.

"I think it is not a matter if people unwilling bring unwilling to do this," Foster said. "I think it is a matter of awareness. For a lot of people we are still far from Christmas. They're really not thinking about."

The families it services provide a list of what each child wants for Christmas. The sponsor is responsible for buying one gift for each child in that family under 18. The sponsor may also buy household gifts such as towels. Sponsors also may donate money that will go toward a voucher at the grocery store so the family can buy food for the holidays.

One of the VAC's regular sponsors are some of the members of Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Columbia.

"Our members are always willing to help," Monsignor Michael Flanagan said. "We also donate to them once a month."

The VAC's goal is to have a sponsor for every family by Thanksgiving. This year it saw more requests for help than previous years.