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October 29, 2013 > Gift donation sites needed for annual holiday drive

Gift donation sites needed for annual holiday drive

Submitted By Barbara Lewis

Family Giving TreeÕs 24th annual Holiday Wish Drive to support low-income, Bay Area children is under way. This yearÕs goal is to serve 67,000 children, an increase of 3,000 over last year. The nonprofit urges businesses of all sizes and community groups to help them reach that goal by providing 1,050 locations needed for the distribution of wish cards and collections of donated gifts.

ÒStanford University recently published a study reporting that 18.7% of Santa Clara County and 18.4% of San Mateo residents (one in every five children) are living below the poverty line,Ó says Family Giving Tree Executive Director Jennifer Cullenbine. ÒI believe we can reach out and touch many more of them with the help of organizations and individuals who will host locations for gift donation collection. Large corporations, small businesses, churchs, and scout groups, can help provide gifts and happy holiday memories to low-income Bay Area children.Ó

This is how it works: Children who have been registered with recipient social services agencies are asked to name their specific gift wishes. The childrenÕs wishes are printed on cards and distributed to Holiday Wish Drive leaders for employees and customers to fulfill and return. The gifts are then collected, sorted, and wrapped by more than 7,000 volunteers at Family Giving TreeÕs warehouse. The gifts are picked up by the participating agencies and presented to the individual children or to their parents to wrap and give to their families.

ÒIt is very powerful to give parents the opportunity to give their kids a gift during the holidays, many for the first time ever. They often tear up when we give them Holiday Wish Drive gifts to wrap for their children,Ó says Jacob Lile, director of Housing Services at InnVision Shelter Network.

Deepa Mehta, Childcare & After School Programs coordinator at Glide FoundationÐFamily, Youth & Childcare Center, agrees. ÒNothing compares to seeing the look on the kidsÕ and parentsÕ faces: pure joy and happiness. The idea that people in the community really care about them as individuals, means so much to them.Ó

To register, potential hosts should visit www.familygivingtree.org or contact Dawn at (408) 946-3111, extension 226.

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