South Shore YMCA Spreads Joy Through Hope for the Holidays Program

Posted: Dec. 20, 2023 Donate

QUINCY, MA – Of the many ways the South Shore YMCA works together with the community to make meaningful change for our neighbors, the Hope for the Holidays adopt-a-family wish list program is among the most powerful to experience.

For over 25 years, our Y has sounded the call for donations of warm clothing, pajamas, toys, and gifts to help fulfill the wish lists of local children whose families are struggling during the holiday season.

What started as a small group of teachers collecting toys for students from the basement of Quincy’s Snug Harbor Elementary School has grown into a vibrant volunteer-driven operation that is providing gifts to hundreds of children across the region.

“This is one of the most impactful things we do at the Y,” said Paul Gorman, President and CEO of South Shore YMCA. “We are the glue that binds all these people and organizations together to delivery joy to our community.”

State Street Employees volunteering at the South Shore YMCA North Pole.

This year brought record enrollment, with over 1,000 children registered to have their wish lists fulfilled. Thousands of donated wish list gift items were collected across South Shore YMCA locations, then sent to the Hale Family Y branch in Quincy where our Brigg’s Family Fieldhouse has been transformed into the “North Pole” where gifts are sorted and distributed to families across the South Shore.

“It’s been a hard year for people, and we’re serving more kids than we ever have before,” said Aiden O’Laughlin, South Shore YMCA Hope for the Holidays Program Director. “Thanks to the help of our community partners and volunteers we were able to provide for all these families this holiday season.”

Quincy Mayor Thomas Koch and the City of Quincy have been longtime supporters of the program. “I want to say thank you to the Y for what you do each and every day, what you stand for and certainly what you do this time of year to brighten the Christmas season for families,” said the Mayor. “Here in Quincy, we’re blessed in so many ways, and when I think about the community assets to the city the YMCA stands tall in that category.”

The generosity of longtime Y supporters such as Dan Quirk of Quirk Auto and Herb Emilson, who visited the North Pole to deliver over 200 donated bikes and gifts, is essential to the program’s success. Bern Helmets of Marshfield donated 175 bike helmets, keeping kids in our community safe while spreading holiday cheer.

Herb Emilson, longtime South Shore YMCA supporter and donor, visited the North Pole at the Hale Family YMCA with Alex and Davis (pictured) Clark

Tom and Barbara Moriarty of Moriarty Bielan & Malloy LLC  sponsored their “$100 for 100” Interactive Giving Program for Children at Dick’s Sporting Goods on December 9, providing 100 local children with gift cards to shop for items they want or need.

For years, volunteer and SSYMCA Executive Board Member Dan DeMarco has led an annual holiday appeal that has raised over $43,000 to date. This year, Dave Keefe, former South Shore YMCA Executive Board member, provided a challenge gift of $25,000 for the DeMarco appeal, which was matched with enthusiasm.

Volunteers are truly the heart and soul of Hope for the Holidays, and the Y relies on volunteers to help sort and distribute thousands of donated gifts. Many volunteers return year after year, bringing new faces to share in the experience.

“We can’t do it alone,” said South Shore YMCA Chief Development Officer, Mary Orne. “It is so moving to see how many volunteers and donors who come to us as adults were once children who received gifts as part of this program. They generously share their stories to inspire others and give back their time to the program because they know firsthand how life-changing it can be for a child to get gifts under the tree. The program truly gives hope.”

Employees from State Street, Webster Bank, Boston Scientific, Rockland Federal Credit Union, ESG Global, Twist Bioscience, and more have all volunteered and donated to ensure that every wish list is complete. On December 12 at the South Shore YMCA Annual Meeting and Board Social, employees from MEDITECH and State Street were recognized for years of generous support and dedication to the South Shore YMCA Hope for the Holidays Program.

MEDITECH staff, alongside Quincy Police Department, delivered donated gifts to families in the Germantown Neighborhood

The South Shore YMCA also thanks participants from Arbella, SS&C, Burgin Platner & Co, MEDITECH, Epic Staffing Group, South Shore Y members and staff, several local churches, and all other groups who spent their own time and money buying gifts and toys through the Adopt-a-Family program or from our Giving Tree program, along with the Quincy Police Department for hosting their annual Walmart Toy Drive.

“It amazes me how thankful and appreciative families are when picking up gifts for their children,” shared O’Laughlin. “One mom said to me ‘I had nowhere to go, so I went to the Y.’  We have shown our community that we are always going to be there, and that’s what this is all about.”

To learn more about the South Shore YMCA Hope for the Holidays Program, visit


Thank you to our 2023 Hope for the Holidays top sponsors


Donate today to help us provide gifts, holiday meals, and warm clothes to those in need.