The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Northumberland County

November 20, 2012

YMCA offers a bit of holiday warmth to Sunbury area residents

SUNBURY — Seven-year-old Isaiah Murray was looking for gloves even before he found a winter jacket Monday afternoon at the YMCA’s annual coat giveaway event.

“My hands get cold,” he said as his mother, Lisa, searched among the piles of coats for items to clothe her children.

“It’s cosy,” Murray’s 6-year-old son Ishmael said as he wrapped himself in a blue winter jacket she found in his size.

Her two young boys shed their old coats and left the Degenstein Youth Center wearing the new ones.

The free coats were a blessing to the family struggling to make ends meet while supporting three children between the ages of 6 and 10.

“My husband and I both lost our jobs about a month ago. We don’t know what we’re going to do for Christmas,” Murray said.

For the past nine years, YMCA program director Ann Dzwonchyk has held the coat giveaway to benefit struggling families like the Murrays. All the coats are donated and Steininger’s cleans them for free.

Dzwonchyk isn’t sure the 700 donated coats will be enough to satisfy the need.

“People were lining up outside for two hours,” she said of the crowd that showed up Monday afternoon.

The coat giveaway is scheduled to continue today from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.

“I don’t think we’ll have much left Wednesday morning,” Dzwonchyk said.

Ayla Stoner, a mother of four from Sunbury, was among the first in line in the hopes that she would find a coat in her size.

“We came early last year, but there were still people ahead of us and they ran out of coats in my size. This year we came even earlier,” she said.

Dzwonchyk said she will assist parents who are unable to find coats for their children.


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