Summit Area YMCA and Community Gives Back to Local Families via Holiday Angel Giving Tree Program

Although the Summit Area YMCA (SAY)'s annual Holiday Angel Giving Tree was virtual again for the 2021 holiday season, it did not lack participation. The Angel Giving Tree Program was created to assist those in our community who are struggling to provide for their families during the holidays. Intended recipients tell the Y what gifts their children want, anonymous Good Samaritans purchase said gift(s) to be sent to the Y, and the Y coordinates delivery of the gifts to the children and/or parents before the holidays. 

For 2021, in true record-breaking SAY fashion, our community donated over $11,000 worth of gifts, supplies, gift cards and cash totaling almost 400 gifts distributed to 200 local children and students, and 150 families over the holiday break. Dozens of individuals donated, and the Y was thrilled to partner with several other generous local organizations to make the holidays special for our community members in need.

"Honestly thank you so much, you guys have done a really great campaign delivering happiness to my children. To me, it has been awesome to see how you took the time to look for the gift my children wanted and actually gave us what they asked for. It means a lot of generosity, but mostly love," said one recipient, a local single father of two young children. 

In addition to gift and toy donations, five special families who were identified as having exceptional needs had a very merry holiday, and received household supplies, groceries, cash and gift cards.

One of the families is multigenerational: two single moms, one whom is paraplegic, and three young children. "We were told they rent two bedrooms in a shared apartment with another family," Patty Facchinei, Financial Aid & Volunteer Coordinator of the Summit Area YMCA explained. "When my husband and I went to deliver their gifts, we were greeted by two children jumping up and down and clapping their hands. Their mom was watching, smiling with tears in her eyes and just so delighted to receive our gifts. I had my Santa hat on and the kids asked me if there was a Santa Claus. I told them that we were helping Santa out this year because of COVID, as some of Santa's helpers were recovering. We gave them a high-five and we laughed. Needless to say, it was a pretty quiet drive home for my husband and myself. Most people don't see this often in Summit, it really puts things into perspective." 

When the Silver Liming Foundation, a local non-profit organization whose mission is to spread kindness and support, heard the Y was coordinating the Angel Tree program again this year, they partnered with the Y to donate and distribute an additional 50 gifts to families in our area. Patty was assisted by Silver Liming Foundation volunteer, Nick, in sorting and delivering these gifts to different families. 

Patty Facchinei, Summit Area YMCA – Financial Aid & Volunteer Coordinator and Silver Liming Foundation volunteer, Nick, delivering donations. 

“My personal favorite Y program is the Angel Giving Tree and Santa certainly came early this year for local families with thanks to our amazing community! It is truly comforting to know we work and live in a community that cares about others and those less fortunate than themselves. This is one of the many things I love about working for the Y!” - says Patty.

Another local non-profit organization, Cherished Creations in Berkeley Heights, donated a school bus-filled worth of toys and gifts toward the program. The Y is beyond grateful to partner with other local organizations such as these who compliment our mission in striving to strengthen the foundations of our community.

Suzanne Grande, Cherished Creations, and Tiffany Escott, Summit Area YMCA Mission Advancement & Development Director.

Because we received so many donations this year, the Y was able to gift toys and supplies to 200 students in our own local classrooms. Students were surprised at school with new toys and went home with big smiles on their faces. “I cannot thank the Y enough for organizing the Angel Tree and the members who donated. My students were so happy and excited to get their gifts.” said Meredith, a local Summit school teacher.


The Summit Area YMCA would also like to thank the Other Fellow First Foundation of Summit, the Rotary Club of Summit-New Providence, and members of the Rotary Club of Berkeley Heights for their generous donations to the SAY's Angel Giving Tree. With the help of their support, families were able to celebrate something special this holiday.

It is the mission of the Y to unite and strengthen all in mind, body and spirit. We thank each and every member, donor, partner and volunteer who participated in the Angel Giving Tree Program and we look forward to spreading more holiday joy next season.

The Summit Area YMCA partners with other local organizations year-round to provide financial assistance to community members who struggle financially for Y programs, essential resources; supplemental meals and supplies; and other forms of assistance. The Family Pack Program – a collaboration among the Y, Community FoodBank of New Jersey, and The Junior League of Summit -- provides supplemental weekend meals to local Summit families with food insecurity by discreetly providing children with food every Friday during the school year. At the Y, financial assistance can be used for membership, childcare, summer camp, enrichment and sports programs where additional fees apply, such as soccer or swimming lessons.

Questions? Contact:


Patty Facchinei

Financial Assistance & Volunteer Coordinator
(908)273-3330 Ext. 1174




Tiffany Escott

Mission Advancement & Development Director
(908) 464-8373





In 1886, we were founded as the Young Men's Christian Association, but today, we are The Y. An association that values, and is made stronger by, its diverse people. We stand for youth development, healthy living and social responsibility — For a better us. We are committed to creating equal opportunity for all regardless of gender, age, disability, income, ethnicity, sexual orientation or religious affiliation. We strive to create a welcoming and inclusive culture in which our four core values — responsibility, honesty, caring and respect — are integral to everyday operations.

Each year, as one of the area’s leading 501(c)3 charitable organizations, the Summit Area YMCA serves more than 15,000 individuals with our free and fee-based programs and services in an area spanning the New Jersey communities of Berkeley Heights, Gillette, Millburn, New Providence, Short Hills, Springfield, Stirling and Summit. Our history is rooted in working side-by-side with our neighbors to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive. Through the generosity of our members, donors, and partners, we are able to offer financial assistance for our programs and services to those in need.