SHAMOKIN -- Unfortunately, many times when people hear "Children and Youth," negative thoughts come to mind. But in Northumberland County this week, Children and Youth is spreading holiday cheer, giving Christmas presents to almost 1,000 children.
First-time mom Kayla Rearick of Sunbury has her hands full, literally. Rearick juggles 11-month-old twin boys and school. When she found out about Northumberland County Children and Youth's Christmas Program, she was relieved.
"Having two kids, it's kind of hard working, it just feels good that there is stuff to help out people who need help," Rearick said.
Northumberland County Children and Youth held its 31st Christmas program this week at the Career and Arts Center in Shamokin.
"Through this program, we're able to serve over 430 families, which is equaling to 935 kids," Carla Clark said.
With the help of dozens of donors, Northumberland County Children and Youth gathered around 4,000 gifts.
A few of those gifts went home with Leah Forr for her foster son Conrad.
"Really amazing for the kids to have something like this when so much is just up in the air in their life," Forr said.
It wasn't only Children and Youth employees handing out the gifts. Shikellamy High School's JROTC program got involved. Students even carried the gifts to people's cars.
"It just means a lot to us to be able to go out and see people interact and help people in the community. It's a big part of the program," Alexandra Benner said.
Children and Youth caseworkers refer families they work with to the Christmas program. Carla Clark tells Newswatch 16 this is the only time of the year people are happy to see Children and Youth.
"Any other time they do not want to hear about Children and Youth or hear us knocking on the door," Clark said.
Thanks to community support, Clark hopes to continue the Christmas program for many years to come.