Last year, Joey did not have any gifts under the Christmas tree for his parents or his big sister, Nancy. This year, little Joey is driving on a snowy Sunday afternoon in December to Santa’s Workshop with Nancy and their parents. In the back seat of the car, he is excited to shop for Christmas presents for his family.

When the family walks into Santa’s Workshop, they are greeted by Santa’s Elves. The workshop is decorated for Christmas and filled with gifts to choose from.

His parents are escorted to a private waiting area where they enjoy refreshments while the elves help Joey and Nancy select presents for them. The kids and then each of the parents get a chance to privately pick out gifts for each other. The gifts are then taken to the elves gift wrap station where they are individually wrapped.

Joey is not required to pay for the gifts, but very proud to be able to donate something for them, so he drops 50 cents into the jar at checkout.

The family leaves with two happy kids and their wrapped gifts that the kids will be able to put under their tree for Christmas morning. The spirit of giving is alive in well in them.

This is the concept of Santa’s Workshop. This is a highly confidential and special service that Family Support for Ellicottville feels is a great way to give back to our community by helping local families in need.

Throughout the year, Family Support for Ellicottville directly helps families in the Ellicottville school district in a variety of ways. One-hundred percent of all monies donated to Family Support remain in the community and support the needs that arise during these difficult economic times.

Family Support for Ellicottville, an affiliate of the Rotary Foundation for Youth, is a 501c3 charitable foundation so your donation is tax deductible.

This event also provides gifts to the Sherriff’s Santa Program, which helps families throughout Cattaraugus County.

How can you help? Save the date for 13th annual “Bob McCarthy’s Irish Christmas,” this Friday at the Ellicottville Brewing Company (EBC) located on Monroe Street.

In Bob McCarthy’s memory, the Rotary Club and many friends spearheaded this fun-filled event that will directly benefit the Santa’s Workshop and Sheriff’s Santa programs. The wagon will be at EBC early Friday to accept unwrapped gifts.

If you have baked a dessert, drop it off at Katy’s Café. You can bring your donation to the event or drop them at 47 Elizabeth St., before the event.

Need help in figuring out ideas for gifts? Monetary donations are always the best, but gifts are needed for every age and gender including parents, teenagers and children. Gift cards and certificates can provide a great night for one of the families.

For questions or more information, call Greg at 474-7832. You can also send a donation to Family Support for Ellicottville, PO BOX 101, Ellicottville, NY 14731. If you provide your address or email, we will send you a tax receipt.

Support your community and help provide a special holiday for those that need a little assistance during the season of giving.