HARRISBURG – A gathering was held in Harrisburg by state officials to celebrate the 32nd Annual Holiday Wish Program which reaches individuals across the state during the holiday by providing gifts and resources to people in need. Andrew Barnes, Executive Deputy Secretary for the PA Department of Human Services,said that caseworkers identify families and older adults in need to take part in the Holiday Wish Program. The participants then select a few gifts they need or would like to receive, and state employees, private organizations, and individuals sponsor a family or individual to ensure they receive the gifts. Representatives from state agencies and the PA National Guard then gather every December to distribute the gifts to hundreds of PA families. The Holiday Wish Program was started in 1989 by a small group of employees within the PA Department of Human Services, which was called the Department of Public Welfare at that time. It has grown now to include several other state departments.