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Psst, Santa subs — it’s time to wrap gifts and bring them in

December 10th, 2010 Posted in Arts and Life

Shopko and Lee’s deadline is Saturday; Smith’s is Dec. 17

By Marissa Bodily

LOGAN–Christmas is fast approaching and so is the deadline to bring gifts in for the Sub for Santa program. Sub for Santa gifts can be brought to Shopko and Lee’s stores until Saturday, Dec. 11. Smith’s Marketplace will accept gifts until Dec. 17.

Many businesses in Logan participate in the Sub for Santa program this time of year. A few of the stores participating this year are Shopko, Lee’s and Smith’s Marketplace. Many businesses request to have Sub for Santa trees as well, said Candida Jensen, assistant director of the Sub for Santa program.

Juanita Ilk, Human Resources Manager and Don Blair, Store Director took it upon themselves to make the Sub for Santa program a special tradition at Smith’s Marketplace about 13 years ago. The store participated in the Sub for Santa program long before then, but it has since grown extensively, Blair said.

“It is our responsibility to give back to the community because we are fortunate to have jobs and work for such a great company,” Ilk said.

There is a Christmas tree near the entrance of the Smith’s Marketplace at 750 N. Main. Paper stockings are hung on the tree. Each stocking has the name of a child in need this Christmas; it includes their age and a few of their wants and needs. Customers and employees are invited to take a name off the tree and shop for gifts for that particular child. The gifts can be dropped off at the service desk.

This year Smith’s Marketplace is providing five families with a Christmas. There are 11 children within the five families.Two of the families live in the Logan area and were suggested by employees of Smith’s Marketplace, the other three families come from the Sub for Santa program.

To be accepted in the Sub for Santa program families fill out an application and go through a personal interview, Jensen said. The family’s household income must be below the national poverty guidelines, they also have to be residents of Cache Valley. The families really are in need of anyone who can help.

There are six major managers in our store Blair said, the managers make suggestions of employees within their departments they think may be in need. The suggested employees must be struggling financially, have been employed by Smith’s Marketplace for at least a year and they must be in good standing with the store.

The store holds employee events to raise money for gifts. The fund-raising events include bake sales, selling lunches and Soup for Santa. Soup for Santa is an event where employees make soups and sell it to other employees. Customer donations also help fund the program. Monetary donations can be given to the Smith’s Marketplace service desk at any time.

“We get a fair amount of general donations,” Jensen said, “but we don’t get enough money to run the program. We take the names that weren’t taken off the tree and try to fill their needs by shopping with monetary donations.”

“Last year we served 1,567 children in 564 families,” Jensen said.

Shopko and Lee’s stores will take gifts until Monday at the very latest because the families are coming to pick up the gifts on Tuesday and Wednesday. If you are able to help, please do.

One thing that is unique about the program at Smith’s Marketplace is the way they deliver the gifts. About 20 or 30 employees get together to deliver the gifts with Santa Claus, Blair said. The group packs all the gifts onto a llama, complete with antlers and lit up with Christmas lights. “We park about a mile away from the family’s home and sing Christmas carols on the way to the home. We hand out candy canes and wish everyone a merry Christmas.” They sing the receiving family some Christmas carols, give them their gifts and bags of food for a nice Christmas dinner. The families are so grateful and thankful for all that they receive because people are willing to give of themselves to someone in need.

“Anyone who joins in on the delivery would agree that it really brings home the meaning of Christmas,” Blair said.

This year’s deliveries are scheduled for Dec. 18 and Dec. 22.

In recent years, they have been including the movie The Polar Express with the gifts because of the movie’s message. “It’s about believing that there is hope and that’s what we really want to give to the children,” Ilk said. “We want them to know there is hope. It’s not about believing in Santa Claus because that fades away. We want everyone to believe in the concept of Santa Claus.

“We want everyone to remember the spirit of Christmas,” Ilk said.


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