Voluntary Action Center Expects Enough Christmas Program Donations

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COLUMBIA - Voluntary Action Center (VAC) volunteers and staff spent Tuesday labeling and organizing rooms full of donations at Trinity Presbyterian Church. The organization is sponsoring about 1,200 families through its 29th Annual Christmas Program.

The VAC prefers to have donation sponsors set to supply gifts for the program by Thanksgiving but did not meet that goal as early as the organization hoped.

"We took a few extra days to get them sponsored, but we got all 1,200 families sponsored," Christmas Program Director Ron Schmidt said.

Despite this, the VAC does not think it will do anything different to ensure sponsors earlier next year.

"The day after Labor Day is kind of early to be thinking about Christmas, but that's when we start to take sponsors now...I guess I could say for everybody to mark their calendars after they enjoy their three-day Labor Day weekend, give us a call and we'll get them set up," Schmidt said.

First time donor Suki Lycke and her family signed up to sponsor a three-year-old boy and an 11-year-old girl. "We each bought coats, boots and some toys," Lycke said.

Monday and Tuesday have been drop-off days for family sponsors and any extra donations. Wednesday, separate agency representatives in the area for senior citizens and people with disabilities are set to pick up donations for their clients. Thursday, individual VAC clients can pick up their gifts. Schmidt said about 70 percent of the donations go to VAC clients directly and about 30 percent go to agencies like Boone County Family Resources.

The same schedule applies to Dec. 10-13. The VAC expects about 800 sponsors to reach the goal.