Wednesday, December 15, 2010
SAN DIEGO Between 600 and 800 military families will have their holiday season stress eased Wednesday and Thursday with the help of the San Diego Armed Services YMCA.
The first 400 families chosen to participate in the 24th annual SuperParent Shopping Day began choosing gifts for their children at 8 a.m. Wednesday. A room full of donated toys was waiting for them.
The first 400 families chosen to participate in the 24th annual SuperParent Shopping Day began choosing gifts for their children at 8 a.m. Wednesday. A room full of donated toys awaited.
“Parents get to pick out two new toys per child,” said Brittany Catton, director of public relations and development for the Armed Services YMCA.” They get to say it’s from them, not from us.”
More than 2,200 families registered to be eligible for SuperParent Shopping Day, twice as many as last year.
Melissa Visage was one of the parents chosen for the first day of shopping. This is the third year she has picked up gifts for her two children, Ethan and Haley, at the event.
“It’s great to see people help us because we do struggle so much, especially when they’re deployed; trying to make ends meet – especially living in San Diego,” Visage said. “Just to get a few things to help ease that burden, we’re grateful.”
Volunteer personal shoppers help parents choose from the donated toys. This is Mike Caruso’s fifth year escorting parents through the process of choosing toys, stocking stuffers and a potted pine or rosemary bush.
“I was in the service myself, I was in the Navy for 26 years,” Caruso said. “Now I’m part of Rotary and Rotary supports the military community in a number of projects. This is the best one because we believe in service to the community and the military gives the best service to all of us.”
Thursday between 200 and 400 families from the more than 1,800 still on the YMCA’s waiting list will have their chance to shop for Christmas gifts.
The YMCA is still accepting donations of unwrapped toys. To distribute additional toys, the agency, “will pull families directly from the wait-list,” Catton said.
Toys can be dropped off at the Armed Services YMCA at 3200 Santo Rd. in Tierrasanta until 2 p.m. Thursday.