Youth and Family Services of North Central Oklahoma will begin its annual Project Santa program on Sunday, and is seeking local churches, nonprofits and civic groups to support the drive to brighten Christmas for area kids in need.

“Each year, with the help of the community, Youth and Family Services provides Christmas gifts to the families of school aged children who will have little or nothing,” said Youth and Family Services (YFS) director of development Tree Perkins.

Children are selected for the program by YFS licensed clinicians, who see children both at YFS and through Enid Public Schools. Last year, the program served more than 300 children.

“This year, we anticipate serving more children than ever,” Perkins said, “due to high rates of job loss — a sad but true result of both the pandemic and plummeting oil prices.”

But, with greater need comes greater opportunity to serve those in need.

“Now is your chance to make a difference this Christmas for a child in need,” Perkins said.

YFS will provide wish lists to any organization, church, or group that wants to adopt a child or multiple children. Groups can “take as few or as many children as you’d like,” according to a press release.

Gifts need to be placed in gift bags and delivered to YFS no later than Dec. 11, so the gifts can be sorted and delivered before students are released from school for winter break. YFS can assist with pick up if needed.

Perkins said the children do not expect every gift on their wish list.

“We find that it is more meaningful to purchase smaller gifts in order to provide for more children,” Perkins said, “rather than larger gifts for fewer children.”

Perkins said in a year filled with challenges, Project Santa provides more than just a gift to a child in need.

She said the spirit of Project Santa, and the positive effect it has on givers, is captured in a quote from St. Francis of Assisi: “For it is in giving that we receive.”

To learn more about the YFS Project Santa program, contact Tree Perkins at (580) 366-4272, or email tperkins@yfsenid.org.

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