Vanguard volunteers spread holiday cheer

MALVERN, Pa. - December 2, 2009

An army of kind hearted volunteers loaded bags of holiday cheer onto trucks for delivery to children.

"I just feel good to give something to someone who's less fortunate. I've been blessed," Shawn Shallow of Lansdale said.

They are Vanguard company employees who spent their own money to purchase, wrap, and bag gifts that will be given to thousands of area children for Christmas.

"Children that are in foster homes, abuse shelters, and homeless shelters and actually families that have fallen on hard times, Mom lost her job this year, Dad lost his job this year. They needed help," project coordinator Janine DiAmbrosio said.

6,000 of the gift bags are being given to children. Each is loaded with items from one child's wish list. Each was filled by donors or teams that shopped specifically for that child to help make their Christmas dreams come true.

"Just to know we've sponsored all these kids and somebody's going to have a happy Christmas means everything," Andrea Dalton of Narberth said.

Vanguard volunteers fill nearly 2,000 of the gift bags that are funneled through the Delaware Valley Children's Charity to agencies, families, and shelters. Other companies donate, as well. The children are told the donated gifts are presents from their parents or Santa.

"It's a blessing. Everybody sees that the giving to the charity people receiving the gifts are such a blessing, but to me, it's the greatest gift of all. I think it's a privilege and honor to be able to give of myself of what we have to those less fortunate. It's just a blessing and honor to do this every year," delivery coordinator Corey Alexander said.

"The reality is that on a personal level, you wake up Christmas morning. It's not just your own family that you made an impact on, really someone else, you'll never know them, but you know you made a difference," Doug Yones of Royersford said.l

Each bag is stuffed with more than $100 worth of goodies. They'll make an invaluable difference to so many children.

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