Click on any question to see the answer in the expanded area. If you have questions that are not answered below, please contact us.

Back-to-School Drive

How do you decide which students to support?

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.

How is your program different from other backpack drives?

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.

How do the students receive their backpacks?

In early August, partner schools pick up their allotted backpacks and then distribute them to the students.

Can I help distribute the backpacks to the kids?

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.


What does it mean when someone requests a right handed baseball glove?

A baseball glove or mitt is described by the handedness of the intended wearer, rather than the hand on which the glove is worn: a glove that fits on the left hand—used by a right-handed thrower—is called a right-handed (RH) or "right-hand throw" (RHT) glove. Conversely, a left-handed glove (LH or LHT) is worn on the right hand, allowing the player to throw the ball with the left hand.

I picked up a card that has an unusual recipient name. What should I do?

To the best of your ability, try to decipher what the name might mean. For example, the name “Maria-male” likely indicates that the child’s name is Maria but that they identify as a boy so choose a gift accordingly. Another example might be a senior who is asking for an infant activity mat so think “grandparent” and buy the gift requested. 

Information about recipients with special needs.

Many of our recipient organizations identify their clients as having special needs but only some are noted as such on the wish card. For example, an 18-year-old boy might want a learning toy that would be intended for a kindergartner (developmental issues); or a 25-year-old adult requested a large print book (sight issues). In general, the wishes reflect the true need so best to purchase what was requested.

A homeless recipient is requesting a floor lamp or a vacuum. Why?

Those recipients noted as homeless on a wish card are usually under the care of an agency that is assisting them in transitioning into some sort of housing. As with anyone moving into a new space, they are in need of household items in order to set up their new room or apartment.

What do I do if the size of requested clothing or shoes does not seem right?

If you don’t think the size matches the age, for example, if a wish card for a 13-year-old male asks for a size 4 pair of shoes, please purchase what you think is the appropriate size and include the receipt with the gift.

Backpack Tags

What if I lose a wish card?

If you lose a wish card, please attach a piece of paper to your gift, listing as much information as you can recall from the original wish card and we will do our best to match it at the warehouse.

What do I do with leftover wish cards?

Because we accept late gifts in order to fulfill wishes on our waiting list, we encourage Drive Leaders to display the wish cards for as long as possible. However, when our Holiday Wish Drive has finished, leftover cards may be returned to the Family Giving Tree Holiday Wish Drive warehouse or our office in Milpitas. Please return leftover cards in an envelope labeled with your groups name.

I ran out of cards. How do I get more?

Congratulations (and thank you!) on exceeding your expectations! Please get in touch with our office, and we will gladly mail out more cards ASAP. Every gift is another wish granted, more joy delivered to someone who needs it most during the holidays. You may also email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call us at 408.946.3111 x212 to request additional wish cards.

Warehouse and Backpack Drop-off

Where is the Warehouse?

South Bay (Sunnyvale)

If you plan to drop off any physical donations, please read the information below and plan to adhere to these operational procedures.

Drop-offs will be by appointment only (email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

The warehouse address is: 

1311 Orleans Drive, Sunnyvale, CA 94089

Does Family Giving Tree pick up gifts from Drive Leaders?

No. Unfortunately, Family Giving Tree does not have the resources to pick-up from the hundreds of Drive Leaders who support us.

Virtual Giving Tree

How does the virtual giving tree work?

The Virtual Giving Tree (VGT) allows you to fulfill a wish online. By making a donation to support a wish you enable FGT to bulk purchase those gifts listed on the VGT site and support running the Holiday Wish Drive.

As much as we'd love for all of the financial donations raised through the VGT to support just gifts, there would be no way for us to help the recipients we serve if we cannot use some funds to cover costs. Things like trucking, equipment rental for the warehouse, and shipping are just a few of the necessary expenses we incur to deliver gifts. Rest assured, we pour every dollar we can into the programs that benefit our recipients, especially in a year like this. Still, there would be no way for organizations like ours to continue our efforts to serve the community without apportioning funds as we do.

Can I host a Virtual Giving Tree?

Yes. You can host a VGT and share the link with family and friends. All you need to do is sign-up as a Drive Leader and request a VGT be assigned to you during that portion of registration. Upon registering you'll receive an email 2-3 days later with instructions about set-up and customization. You'll be given a unique URL and password to manage the site through January 12th.

To sign-up as a Drive Leader, click here.

How long will I be able to donate on the virtual giving tree?

All VGTs remain live until midnight on January 12th.