SOUTHINGTON - The Southington-Cheshire Community YMCAâ€™s annual Giving Tree event Dec. 11 will benefit its â€śsister Yâ€ť on a Sioux reservation in South Dakota.
The Giving Tree ceremony will be held at the YMCA Learning Center parking lot from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. and will feature seasonal songs sung by the Yâ€™s 4-year-old preschool students and the choir from Hatton Elementary School.
â€śFriends and family members come out to watch as each group of youngsters sings three Christmas carols and then we do the lighting of out tree out in front of the Y,â€ť said Shane Altwies, director of YMCA Camp Sloper. â€śSusan Roman from Faith Living Church will also be singing along with the kids. Speakers will include John Myers, our executive director, and members of our International Committee.â€ť
People can also stop in at the Y, at 29 High St., to make a donation. They can then write their names, or those of the people in whose honor they are donating, on a feather that will be placed on the Giving Tree.
The tree will stand in the lobby of the YMCA through the holiday season. Additionally, visitors to the YMCA can purchase â€śevergreen mugsâ€ť starting this month. Proceeds from that sale will also support the Sioux YMCA.
Altwies said that the local YMCA has been supporting the Sioux Y for more than 30 years. The Sioux YMCA provides services to 18 communities on the 4,500 square mile of the Cheyenne River Reservation, which is one of the poorest in the U.S.
According to the YMCA, the reservation has no casino, no public transportation, no libraries, no movie theaters and no shopping malls.
â€śThere are a lot of people in need and our Y does what it can to raise a small amount of money each year to support them,â€ť said Altwies. â€śLast year we raised $500 and weâ€™re always looking to raise as much as we can. This is a community that needs all the help we can give it and this partnership has long predated my tenure at the Y.â€ť