TIFTON — Sponsorship applications are being taken for the Tiftarea YMCA’s annual Y Christmas.

The event matches up approximately 130 local children with sponsors who then get a list of those children’s needs and Christmas wishes, according to Jason Bishoff, Tiftarea YMCA interim director.

“I really love this because it’s kids in our community,” Bishoff said. “There’s needs here in this community. This impacts kids’ lives and brings awareness that it’s not just people around the world that need help, but kids in their own background.”

Forms may be picked up at the YMCA, 1657 S. Carpenter Road, or by visiting their website at www.tiftareaymca.org.

The event itself will be 9 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 14 at the Tift Regional Event Center.

Bishoff said that they are looking for volunteers to help put the baskets together on Dec. 9, 11 and 13, and to help each basket get to the child it’s meant for at the event.

The event relies on both volunteers and donations to make the event come together.

“The Y is more than just a gym and sports programs,” Bishoff said. “We have lots of programs for kids and we rely a lot on donations to make the Y what it is today.”

The average basket price is approximately $100 for a child aged seven and younger, and approximately $125 for children aged eight to 14.

Bishoff said that when sponsors submit their application, they can either request a specific age and gender, or they can choose to buy for any child. They are then matched up with a child and given a list of items.

Most of the items are necessities, such as clothes and toiletries. Each child has three wish items on their list. All of the gifts are put in a laundry basket and given, unwrapped, to the volunteers at the Y, who then make sure the baskets are put together and under the tree for the children for Christmas.

“It’s pretty neat to be able to do that for the kids and make it feel like a home Christmas,” Bishoff said.

Bishoff said he and his family participates as well and it brings it home to his kids that there are other children just like them who don’t have things, like socks and toothbrushes, that they take for granted.

For more information contact Bishoff at jason@tiftareaymca.org or 229-391-9622.

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