Voluntary Action Center Finds Sponsors for Christmas Program

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COLUMBIA - After extending its deadline a week, the Voluntary Action Center (VAC) has finally filled all of its sponsor positions for the Christmas program.

"Normally we try to have everything done by Thanksgiving, but this year, since Thanksgiving came early, we were behind," said VAC Christmas program director Ron Schmidt.

The Christmas program provides children in need in Boone County with presents for the holiday season. Around 700 sponsors will put together boxes for 1,200 children.

"We see an increase in families in need each, but we can only provide gifts for 1,200. We would like to host 1,500 families if we could, but we just can't. This year, we went a week past our deadline which really illustrates for us that we really can't expand the program beyond where it is," said Schmidt.

Workers at the VAC are sending out the sponsors' letters Wednesday. Sponsors can start dropping of presents on December 3.

Sponsors receive a wish list from their children and families in need, then purchase toys, household items and gift cards for the families.

The original deadline for sponsors was November 20. On Monday, 22 sponsor spots were still opened, but by the morning of the extended deadline, the Volunteer Action Center had filled all its spots.

"We were really anxious about getting everybody sponsored, but we were so flooded with calls and emails on Monday and Tuesday that not everybody who called ended up with a family to sponsor," said Schmidt.

Although all the sponsor positions have been filled, people can still donate money, gift cards, toys, non-perishable food, and toiletry items to the Volunteer Action Center to be put in sponsor boxes. The VAC will also need volunteers between December 3 and December 13 for the collection and distribution of the gifts.