Youth volunteers: United in spreading some cheer

Four local teens giggled as they stood in the rain and straightened wired limbs on an artificial Christmas tree in the parking lot of a Paso Robles apartment complex Wednesday morning.

Once everything was in place, they carefully picked up the tree so as to not disturb its delicate silver and gold ornaments. Along with three bags of gifts, they brought the tree into the home of a mother and three children in need.

“It felt like we were Santa Claus to this family,” 16-year-old Emma Phillips said with a big grin.

United Way of San Luis Obispo County, local donors and the national retailer Target organized the effort.

The teen volunteers were part of United Way’s Youth Board, which meets monthly to discuss community issues and select other nonprofit groups for grants.

A second family in San Miguel also received a tree and gifts Wednesday morning. In total, eight youngsters on the 34-member board volunteered to help bring holiday cheer to the two families.

The El Camino Homeless Organization in Atascadero and the North County Women’s Shelter nominated the recipients.

— Tonya Strickland