Christian Center launches Sub for Santa |

Christian Center launches Sub for Santa

Alisha Self, Of the Record staff

As the holiday season nears, tension is rising for families who have stretched their budgets all year long. For those who are out of work, the prospect of providing Christmas gifts for their children may be daunting.

Seven years ago, the Christian Center of Park City launched a small Sub for Santa program that distributed gifts to 30 families in Summit and Wasatch counties. This year, the center expects to bring Christmas cheer to 450 families and about 2,500 children.

According to Executive Director Tim Dahlin, the Christian’s Center Sub for Santa program has become an umbrella program encompassing projects run by area churches, businesses and nonprofits. The center works with a diverse group of gift sponsors to coordinate a community-wide effort.

The number of families that participated in the Sub for Santa program jumped from 225 in 2008 to 420 in 2009, an increase that reflects the economic climate. The capacity for the 2010 program is 450 families, and 283 signed up in the first four days of registration, Dahlin says.

The program is open to families with legitimate need from Summit and Wasatch counties. The only documentation required is proof of the number of children in the family. "Anyone who feels the need to help support their children at Christmas is welcome," Dahlin says.

Sign-up for families in need will continue through November or until the limit of 450 families is reached. Those wishing to sign up may stop by the Christian Center’s new location at 1283 Deer Valley Drive between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. A special registration period will be held Saturday, Nov. 6, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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The next step is finding area businesses, churches, families and individuals to sign up as sponsors for families or individual children. Each sponsor is asked to choose a card with a family’s information and provide one or two wrapped gifts per child. The information packets include the children’s ages and sizes as well as gift ideas.

Sponsors can drop off gifts at the Christian Center and deadlines will be included with each information packet. Families will pick up their gifts during assigned time slots in the week leading up to Christmas.

When the families stop by to pick up their gifts, Dahlin personally takes time to share a short message on the true meaning of Christmas. "I tell them, ‘These gifts are an expression of love from our community,’" he says.

For more information about the Sub for Santa program, contact Terry at 649-2260 ext. 11 or .