Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals seem to come earlier every year, but it’s not too late to get Sub for Santa on your gift list this year. And if you need help, there’s still time to sign up for the program.
Here’s how it works: Needy families sign up for the United Way of Utah County program so their kids have presents under the tree. A parent or guardian must attend a workshop about community resources and how to make holiday traditions that don’t cost anything. And a committee evaluates each applicant’s financial situation, past Sub for Santa assistance and more, according to United Way.
Then people sign up to sponsor a family — you can specify a family size, like one kid, five kids, etc. Sponsors get lists for the kids — two new articles of clothing, two new toys and books — and are asked to spend about $100 per child, said Jordan Prescott, the Sub for Santa director. Then the sponsor delivers the gifts to the family.
United Way of Utah County has been doing the Sub for Santa program for many years, but this year there’s something new — its asking sponsors to give three to five books to each child, instead of one, “to try to get more books into children’s homes,” Prescott said.
She said the number of families signed up for help from the program is slightly lower than previous years. “But there’s definitely still a really big need. We’re seeing families that are a little bit bigger, with more kids.”
Sponsors may be tempted to spend more than the guidelines to give the family an even better Christmas, but United Way urges them not to do that because that will make it difficult for parents to meet their kids expectations in the future.
United Way accepts sponsors up until Christmas, though later sponsor applicants may be put on a back-up list in case earlier sponsors end up not being able to participate. To volunteer or for more information, go to unitedwayuc.org/volunteer/sub-santa or call (801)356-6300. To sign up for help, call (801) 356-6200 or go to unitedwayuc.org/sub-santa/applicants-sub-santa.