For 26 years, Sacramento County’s Gifts from the Heart (GFTH) program has brightened the holidays for thousands of children, teens and seniors in the Sacramento community, by providing holiday gifts for those served by Child Protective Services and Senior and Adult Services. Many of these individuals would not have received anything, if not for these gifts.
For 26 years, Sacramento County’s Gifts from the Heart (GFTH) program has brightened the holidays for thousands of children, teens and seniors served by Child Protective Services and Senior and Adult Services divisions of Sacramento County Health and Human Services Department, by providing holiday gifts – many of whom would not have received any, if not for these gifts.
This year, Starbucks joined the growing list of GFTH community sponsors. Eighty-seven Starbucks stores in the Sacramento area participated by collecting unwrapped gifts from customers and employees. The iFoster agency reached out to the GFTH program and helped to coordinate the toy pick-up schedule between GFTH volunteers and the various Starbucks stores, and donated some pick-up drivers.
It is because of the generosity of local community partners and individuals from businesses, government agencies, service groups and families who donate gifts every year that this program has been able continue to provide gifts. More than 35 percent of the GFTH sponsors have consistently donated gifts and sponsored children for 10+ years, and, 10 percent of long-time donors have been sponsors for more than 20 years.
“I have coordinated this program for 10 years, and it’s been truly fulfilling,” said Tammy Liu, Volunteer and Student Intern Services Coordinator. “The generous gifts and contributions from local community partners and the team work of volunteers have made the Gifts from the Heart program possible.”
The success of the GFTH program not only lies with the kind sponsors, but also with the wonderful volunteers who dedicate hundreds of hours, helping to organize and distribute gifts. Each year, a team of 40 volunteers manage the pick-up, distribution, and delivery of gifts from community and private sponsors. The volunteers, many of whom return year after year, spend weeks in the warehouse organizing toys and gifts to be delivered or picked up by social workers.
“Every once in a while you need these kinds of services or someone in your family needs the services; it’s nice to be able to return the favor,” say Rich Gunn, GFTH volunteer. “It feels good to be able to give back. And, you get to work with people who feel the same way about helping those in need – people who just want to help out.”
GFTH provided more than 3,000 gifts to children, teens and seniors in Sacramento during the 2015 holiday season.