Christmas is coming, COVID or not!

John Christensen
The Chronicle-Express

YATES COUNTY — While COVID-19 is putting a damper on celebrations, the spirit of Christmas lives on in the hearts of Yates County’s most devoted helpers.

The Yates Christmas Program  turned from their annual shopping events at the Penn Yan Army Reserve Center and the Presbyterian & Baptist Churches in favor of a safer distribution of gift cards to the enrolled families and children. Held last week at the Finger Lakes Produce Auction, YCP volunteers braved the season’s first snow to direct families in the two-lane, drive-through distribution. Organizer Donna Johnston said the operation worked so smoothly and quickly, they had none of the lines they feared serving all the families. As impressive as the organized flow was, volunteers say they miss the regular shopping event, and have every hope they will return to it next year.

Santa & Mrs. Claus helped Yates County Social Services distribute gifts to all the foster children last week.

Last Wednesday night, a more traditional gift event was adapted in keeping with the situation, as the Yates County Dept. of Social Services had their own drive-through, complete with Santa & Mrs. Claus, elves, and reindeer as they distributed gifts to all the children in foster care. The cold dusting of snow only added to the holiday energy as the volunteers and staff played and danced to keep warm.

nullSanta will be making a return visit Dec. 17. The North Pole has contacted the Yates County 911 Center that Santa Claus & Mrs. Claus will again be stopping at the entrance to Yates County Office Building, 417 Liberty Street in Penn Yan, for a drive-through event.

Due to the pandemic, Santa has not had the opportunities to see many children this year, so he is making this special event to give all the children a chance to see him and Mrs. Claus, and give Santa their wish lists.

Santa & Mrs. Claus will be paying a return visit to the county building Dec. 17.

nullDrivers, please enter from Main St. and exit to Liberty St. from 6 to 7 p.m., Thursday evening, Dec. 17 when children can stay inside the car to see Santa & Mrs. Claus.

It is recommended that the driver wear a mask.

Don’t be surprised if Santa doesn’t have a treat for the good little boys & girls. So be good for goodness sake! Ho Ho Ho!