More than 70 families need Sub for Santa sponsors

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United Way of Utah County still needs help providing presents for 78 families through its Sub for Santa program. (Stock Photo)

With less than a week before Christmas, there still are 78 Sub for Santa families who need sponsors.

“It seems like a lot, but we’ve already helped more than a thousand families,” said Michaelann Bradley, communications manager for United Way of Utah County.

For more than 35 years, United Way of Utah County has connected families each year with sponsors, who provide Christmas gifts for children. There are two-parent and single-parent families, kids in foster care and low-income seniors.

This year most of the families who still need sponsors have between two and four kids, though there are some larger families. In all, 1,510 families have asked for help — so far — with 4,419 children, along with 488 foster kids and seniors. And the number of applicants is up this year, from 1,356 families last year. It’s the first year since 2008 that the number hasn’t dropped from the previous year, she said.

“It seems like a lot, but we’ve already helped more than a thousand families.” — Michaelann Bradley, communications manager for United Way of Utah County

But Bradley isn’t worried about having enough sponsors. It usually has about the same number of families remaining every year at this time.

“People come out of the woodwork to help,” she said.

Families who apply for Sub for Santa must meet income guidelines and attend a workshop. Children must be between 18 months and 14 years old, but younger and older children may participate if they have siblings who qualify. Also, families cannot apply year after year — Sub for Santa is a temporary assistance program. And all the families live in Utah County.

The families provide United Way a list of gift ideas to give to sponsors. It asks sponsors to give two to three new clothing items, two new toys and three to five books to each child. United Way also asks sponsors not to get extravagant with gifts, and to spend about $100 per child.

“We’re really grateful for everything the community does,” Bradley said.

If you’d like to sponsor a family or donate money, go to subforsanta.org or call United Way at (801) 374-2588. And if you would like to apply for Sub for Santa assistance, call (801) 356-6200.

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Amie Rose has more than 14 years of experience writing and editing at newspapers in Utah and New Mexico. She graduated from BYU with a degree in journalism. She lives in Utah Valley with her husband, toddler and crazy dog.

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