Thanks to a last-minute surge of support from the York community, 94 local children will have presents to open on Christmas morning.
The children, from the Southern, Southeastern and Dallastown school districts, had created three-item wish lists through Southern Community Services' Holiday Share program.
In its 32 years as a social service provider, the organization has never turned a family away because it couldn't fulfill its wish list, said director Cindy Richard. However, with 72 more families this year than usual, she said, she was prepared to break some bad news.
"We sent letters out saying, 'You may not be sponsored this year,'" she said.
Ready to give: But last Tuesday, a flood of calls from the community reduced the number of unsponsored children to 37, Richard said. After two hours on Wednesday morning, all the kids were covered.
"It was a miracle, as far as I'm concerned," she said.
And it all started with a Facebook post.
When a donor called SCS and learned of the desperate need for gifts, she posted the news on the Southern York County PA Facebook page, asking more than 3,300 people to step up and adopt a family.
"So she put it on that site, and the phones were ringing off the hook," Richard said. "It was like a telethon here."
'Santa's workshop': People called from out of state, and one caller volunteered to sponsor eight children, she said.
"It was really beautiful," Richard said. "It's so great to see when the community can rally around people they don't even know."
The program will serve about 300 kids total, and families were ecstatic to learn their wishes would come true, she said.
"It's really nice when the community believes in you and their own community, too," Richard said.
And thanks to the generosity of the community, she said, SCS was full of toys on Monday, the final day of gift pick-up for families.
"It looks like Santa's workshop here," she said.
-- Reach Mollie Durkin at email@example.com.