Family Giving Tree is committed to the partnerships we have with our recipient agencies, individual donors, sponsors and volunteers and part of that commitment involves transparency about our practices and processes. Given that both our Holiday Wish Drive and Back-to-School Drive involve considerable Drive Leader participation, logistics and planning, and community support, we wanted to share some specifics about each.
Holiday Wish Drive
Yes! FGT partners with more than 300 agencies to gather the exact wishes of Bay Area residents in need. The name and wish you see are actual children, seniors, and homeless adults being helped by our partner agencies.
When FGT commits to providing a gift, we take that commitment very seriously. To ensure that everyone on our list gets their gift, FGT actually distributes two copies of each wish card to the public with the hope that at least one gift is purchased. Generally, about 40% of all wish cards are not returned with a gift. If neither wish card for a gift is returned, warehouse volunteers shop at our Holiday Wish Drive warehouse “store” to find a gift that best fits the wish, and that gift is given to the recipient so no one goes without.
Every single recipient whose name is on a wish card will receive a holiday gift from FGT, whether their wish tag is returned or not. Unfulfilled wish cards are matched with the best option from our Holiday Wish Drive warehouse “store” prior to their assigned agency pickup time.
This doesn’t happen often but when it does, we have a system in place. If both copies of the same wish card are returned with a gift attached, our trusted warehouse staff and volunteers have a decision to make. The gift that best fits the listed first wish will remain with the wish card. The alternate gift will be moved to our Holiday Wish Drive warehouse “store” where it will be used for another unfulfilled wish which was not returned. All donated gifts are given to qualifying recipients during the holiday season through our partner agencies.
The Holiday Wish Drive “store” at the warehouse holds thousands of donated and Family Giving Tree bulk-purchased items for distribution during the Drive. Any gifts donated without a wish card or any duplicate gifts are placed here until a volunteer matches them with an unfulfilled wish card.
Family Giving Tree determines which schools to support through Federal Free and Reduced Price Meal data. The schools chosen have 80%+ of their student population receiving this assistance.
The FGT backpack Drive defines the list of supplies needed by grade level to ensure that each student receives what they need while keeping the supply list shorter and more affordable for donors. The grade levels provided are K-2, 3-5, and 6-12. Each backpack is color-coded with a tag to ensure the appropriate backpack goes to the right student.
In early August, partner schools pick up their allotted backpacks and then distribute them to the students.
We don’t have this opportunity available to donors but are considering developing a special classification of volunteers who could have access to this type of activity. Given that distributions are done on school property, certain safety measures and checks must be performed. We are also mindful of providing privacy and respect for our student recipients, so these opportunities are very limited.