Claire Anderson, contributing writer
If you were to walk around Cache Valley each holiday season interviewing individuals in our community, you would be hard-pressed to find someone who hasn’t heard of Sub for Santa.
When this nonprofit organization was started many decades ago, it was run by a small group of women with a desire to serve the community. It first operated at the Senior Center on 1st East in Logan. As it has grown and developed over the years, Sub for Santa has transitioned to many different locations, recently moving to the Bridgerland Applied Technical College West Campus Building.
Sub for Santa’s mission is to “provide temporary assistance during the Christmas season to individuals and families residing in Cache County who are in need.” According to the program directors, Emily Malik and Jennifer Bishop, Sub for Santa’s central goal is to “ensure that no child goes without a present at Christmas.” Those involved in this program dedicate many hours each holiday season to make this goal a reality by providing toys, clothing, and other gifts for children across Cache County.
“Because of our generous community, we have been able to serve anywhere from 400 to 1200 kids each year,” Emily and Jennifer said.
There are many ways for community members to get involved in this cause. The KUTV Angel Tree program and other supporting businesses in Cache Valley work with Sub for Santa each year to put up several Angel Trees around town. These trees display tags that give community members the opportunity to sponsor a child, purchase gifts for kids in need, or purchase gift cards for teens in need. This year, Angel Trees can be visited at Smith’s Marketplace, Saddleback Harley-Davidson Shop, Lee’s Marketplace in Logan, Lee’s Marketplace in Smithfield, or at the Cache Valley Mall starting on November 17. Sub for Santa encourages those who would like to sponsor children to reach out early, since the last day to participate is December 11.
Photos courtesy of Cache County Sub for Santa
“It’s been really great to see our community get involved in this program,” Emily said. “I think my favorite moment last year was when a family came to the distribution center for a child they had sponsored. They saw all of the items in our distribution center and they made the connection of how many kids and families need assistance and that a lot of [that need] was [for] basic things like clothes, shoes, and coats. They were really emotional about making that connection. The next day, that family came back with more items to donate because they really just felt like they wanted to do as much as they could for those who [could] use help. These were little kids! It was so inspiring. I think we all got teary.”
It’s undeniable that dedicating time to serve others, especially during the holiday season, can touch the hearts of all who have the opportunity to participate. “What keeps me going is hearing the stories of past recipients who were experiencing difficult times and are now in a good place to be able to sponsor a child, and it was their way of giving back,” Jennifer said.
Additional ways community members can help include making donations, participating in fundraising events, volunteering, or helping the program acquire their top 20 most needed items.
YOU CAN HELP MAKE A DIFFERENCE
This year’s top 20 most-needed items include:
3. Anything Star Wars-related
4. Gift cards for teens to local stores (especially for clothing)
6. Doll strollers
7. Pokemon cards and items
8. Pajamas of all sizes
9. Underwear of all sizes
10. Dolls (LOL, Surprise, whatever is popular)
11. Video games (generally the latest and greatest)
12. Teen girl hair accessories, nail polish, and perfumes
13. Snow boots, any size
14. Adult-sized coats for teens
15. Anything Minecraft-related
17. Toddler and infant learning and active toys
18. Socks, any size
19. New bike helmets
20. Art supplies
Donations can be dropped off at Smith’s Marketplace starting November 17.
Visit cachecountysubforsanta.org for more information or ideas for additional ways to help.