Friday, December 9, 2016

Feel Good Friday - Family Giving Tree

It's Feel Good Friday and this week, I'm switching my focus away from politics and towards the spirit of giving, starting with Family Giving Tree!

Family Giving Tree (FGT) is the largest holiday gift and backpack donation program in California and they have been "bringing hope and joy to those in need" for 25 years!

According to FGT's website, despite the affluence of the Bay Area, "one of every four children here lives in poverty". What began as a San Jose State MBA project has grown into an organization with the mission to "fulfill the exact holiday wishes and provide backpacks filled with school supplies to those children in the most need in our communities while inspiring the values of kindness, philanthropy and volunteerism." Since their inception, FGT has served more than 1.2 million children and individuals throughout the greater Bay Area through their two main annual drives:

For the Holiday Wish Drive, FCT partners with schools, service agencies and nonprofits to get students exact wishes and work with drive leaders and people like all of us to get those wishes fulfilled. In 2015 they fulfilled "more than 72,000 holiday wishes, 85% of those being children's wishes." Watch this video to see just how happy the children are when they get their gifts.

If you're participating this year, gifts are due to the warehouse by December 12th and you still have until January 5th to make monetary donations to the 2016 Holiday Wish Drive.

There is also a Back-to-School Drive which was "launched in 1995 with the goal of closing the educational gap for in-need K-12 students. New backpacks full of essential, grade-appropriate school supplies are collected and delivered to Bay Area students." This event takes place during the summer so backpacks can be picked up and distributed in early August. "In 2016 the Family Giving Tree exceeded its goal of 37,000 backpacks".

To help FGT keep going for another 25 years and expand their services to more children, there are numerous ways you can get involved. Those of you in the Bay Area can lead a drive or deliver toys as an elf and people everywhere can support this group with a donation and some social media love by liking their Facebook page and following them on Twitter @FGTtweets.

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