Embracing the true meaning of social responsibility, the YMCA of Greater St. Petersburg is once again teaming up with the community in 2023 to bring the spirit of Christmas to 419 families and more than 900 children.

For more than 30 years, the YMCA Neighbor to Neighbor Christmas Program has provided families in need with the joys of a traditional Christmas. “The Neighbor to Neighbor Christmas Program was founded by a small group of volunteers 33 years ago that included the Rev. Chester James, Pastor Clarence Welch and Mayor Rick Baker,” said Michelle Curtis, Vice President of Philanthropy and Chief Development Officer for YMCA of Greater St. Petersburg. “The Neighbor to NeighborChristmas program focuses on just that – neighbors helping neighbors during the Christmas season.”

The YMCA Neighbor to Neighbor Christmas program provides each family with a live tree and trimmings, a $50 gift card from Publix, a unique shopping experience that allows parents to “shop” for Christmas gifts for their children, and a gift card for youth sports at the Y. The St. Petersburg Free Clinic is collaborating to also provide fresh produce to families.

This year, program coordinators say they especially need help at Tree Delivery Day on Dec. 2. Volunteers will join YMCA staff members to deliver Christmas trees directly to families’ doorsteps, along with all the necessary tree-trimming items and important information regarding Toy Shopping Days.

“This signature program could not be successful without the gift of volunteerism — over 100 volunteers provide hundreds of service hours to the YMCA helping to deliver this program,” said Curtis. “Everyone needs help at some point in life. The YMCA is proud to facilitate this program which brings people together to help each other.”

You can help by volunteering your time at upcoming tree delivery and holiday shopping events, donating toys, sponsoring the program or helping spread the word. Learn more at stpeteymca.org/neighbor.

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