While it may only be July, Family Giving Tree (FGT) is always thinking about the Holiday Wish Drive. During August, our staff holds training and orientations for our partner social service agencies. We are always looking for new drive leaders and informing current drive leaders about important dates for our program. Volunteers are constantly updating and improving the wish database, a critical part of our program that helps ensure that the community delivers the specific, wished-for gift.
In short, while we may run two drives, FGT is a year-round organization helping the community twelve months a year. Many ask how we are able to sustain this schedule and continue to support the community.
We do so through our Community Champions. Members’ sustaining donations allow Family Giving Tree to operate all year round. They keep the lights on, the computers whirring, and the staff busy doing the impactful work in the community. If you are interested in becoming a Community Champion and sustaining the work done in the Bay Area, email Amelia at firstname.lastname@example.org
Though this year looked different for many, thanks to you, along with foundations and corporate partners, FGT was able to fulfill over 50,000 wishes. And with distributions still continuing into this month, we see the fruits of our community’s generosity as that number steadily increases.
It is heartwarming to see neighbors, friends, and strangers come together to help make these gifts and holiday memories possible for so many in our community. With the needs growing, we constantly work to help as many people and we can. Initially, we had planned to help less than half of those we serve out of an abundance of caution during the pandemic. To be able to say that we are able to distribute nearly the same amount of gifts in years before is one of the most wonderful surprises of 2020 we experienced.
A big “Thank You!” from the bottom of our hearts and your fellow neighbor for making this holiday season brighter.
This year has been difficult for everyone. A pandemic threatens our lives and our way of life and those Family Giving Tree serves face the highest risk. Those who work on the front lines as essential workers, families, individuals facing homelessness, and seniors; all those with limited access to proper PPE to use and refill stock.
That is why FGT is working to provide Essential Health Kits with each wished-for gift for 40,000 children, adults, and seniors who have been affected by financial hardships and are particularly vulnerable to the COVID pandemic. With at least 11% of those we serve experiencing homelessness, health kits are crucial in providing access to the items that keep them safe and restocking those same items.
One of the recipients speaks to the crucial nature of Essential Health Kits during a pandemic:
“We’re located in the Tenderloin and it is a dense neighborhood, so having clean hands, healthy teeth, and masks for seniors who are the at-risk/more susceptible to COVID-19 is important. It also minimizes the spread and helps our community. Care packages are important. It’s a matter of income and for these seniors, the majority of their expenses go to food and rent, therefore not much left over for “hygiene items.”
Please note that if you would like to continue supporting FGT, please become a monthly supporter.
As we enter into our 2020 Back-to-School Drive, we reflect on what really made this past holiday season special for so many Bay Area residents: the generosity of donors like you. Because of your help, Family Giving Tree was able to fulfill the holiday wishes of over 82,000 children, seniors, and adults in need. Thanks to your donation, we were able to partner with over 400 local agencies, from elementary schools to senior care facilities to shelters for individuals experiencing homelessness.
Although making a donation may seem like a small act, your contribution makes a real impact for someone who needs hope and joy. These gifts are often the only holiday gifts that our recipients receive throughout the holiday season, and a specifically-wished-for gift tells a recipient that they are seen, known, and cared for.
While there's so much that is unknown due to the ever-changing circumstances, Family Giving Tree is committed to serving those most in need for the 2020 Holiday Wish Drive. We are confident that, once again, we can count on our community members to partner with us to deliver joy. From the bottom of our hearts, and theirs, thank you.
Thank you! Because of your generosity this past holiday season over 82,000 children, individuals, and seniors in need were able to have joyful celebrations. Each year, the community comes together to support the great need that Silicon Valley has and we are overwhelmed with feelings of gratitude.
In these uncertain times we wanted to share a few heart-warming quotes from those who received your thoughtful gifts:
“This helped me support my children and provided [memories] and [I am] so grateful. I could not afford gifts. I’m a single mother struggling working two jobs living in a room for rent.” --Betsy in San Jose
“It meant a lot to my mom to have new pots and pans. For me, it meant a lot to have something new and clean to put on my bed.”--Annie from Berkeley
“Everyone was so thankful and grateful to receive the gifts they had requested and they are still talking about how blessed they were to receive such wonderful gifts.”--Rita in Oakland
While we all do our part to keep our community healthy, know that your generosity continues to make a difference for those most in need in our communities.
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