Utah Central: Christmas Wishes

Nothing brings smiles and joy to needy children during the holidays than
Utah Central’s annual Christmas Wishes gift-giving program. And this year,
the annual tradition is making wishes come true for hundreds of less
fortunate children.

Sara Parker, from Utah Central Credit Union explains the program and how
people can help out.

Every student at Lincoln Elementary School – one of Salt Lake’s core urban
schools where nearly all live below the poverty line – look forward to the
generosity of Utahns throughout the state. Hanging from Christmas trees
inside Utah Central branch offices are ornaments made individually by each
student with a simple “want” and a simple “need.” Needs can range from a
pillow, blanket, school supplies, a dictionary, shoes, socks, even food, while
wants are the things that every kid dreams about – a soccer ball, a toy, a doll,
remote control cars or legos.

Christmas Wishes is one of the most unusual holiday programs in the state –
where an entire school is adopted and every child at the school – about 550 –
receive two Christmas presents. In many cases, these are the only gifts the
child will get for the holidays.

Lincoln Elementary’s new principal Christine Pittam – who witnessed
Christmas Wishes for the first time last year – said, in all of her years of
education, Christmas Wishes was one of the most exciting days of her career.

Lincoln Elementary has a large refugee population and more than 20
languages are spoken. For many of these students -especially those from
Africa or Asia — Utah’s winter weather can be a shocking adjustment and
they often don’t have the right clothes for our harsh seasonal snow.

If you want to help, please go to any Utah Central branch office between
mid-November and early December, select an ornament, buy the requested
gifts and return them to the branch where they will be wrapped and
presented to students before Christmas break. You can find a Utah Central
branch by going to www.utahcentral.com.

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