Gift Box program helps adults with intellectual disabilities enjoy Christmas

Posted at 9:52 PM, Dec 09, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-10 10:04:33-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- Preston Perry is 43 years old, but intellectually he's only about 7 years old. Perry and his housemate Carlos Sosa are among hundreds of Utahns who will have a merry Christmas thanks to the Utah Association of Intellectual Disabilities, also known as UAID.

UAID Board President Cindy Larson says for many of them, it's the only Christmas gift they'll get.

For years, the volunteer agency has sponsored the Holiday Gift Box program. Each individual fills out their gift preferences on what the UAID calls an ornament. The gifts are mostly necessities like sweatshirts, coats, shoes and blankets.

Then, UAID turns each preference card into an individual ornament, which they ask the community to adopt.

"We ask donors to come in and choose individuals they would like to help, and when they filled the gifts, they bring them back here," Larson said.

Many of the clients, like Perry and Sosa, are not only receiving gifts, they're also volunteering their time. They mostly wrap gifts, and, most importantly, remind us all that Christmas is the season of giving.

"Instead of getting, I like to give presents," Sosa said. "That's one of my parties during Christmas time."

This year, UAID is giving presents to more than 1,700 clients statewide.

"You have a tendency to forget because you think, well they've been jaded because of their age, but they haven't because they're still seeing it through that 5-year-old's eyes," Larson said.

UAID says they have more than 700 ornaments that have not been adopted this year. For more information on how you can donate, visit their website.