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Natural Awakenings Rhode Island

Spread the Season’s Joy

Dec 02, 2019 01:56PM ● By Maureen Cary

The Spirit of Giving Holiday Drive is one of the many programs offered by Children’s Friend to help Rhode Island’s most vulnerable children and families. The drive began many years ago, when staff members assembled gift baskets with donations for a small number of families. From those roots, the holiday drive has developed into the community giving event that it is today. This year, the organization seeks help in fulfilling the holiday wish lists of some 1,700 families and 5,300 children in need.

Stacy Couto, chief of philanthropy, states, “Each year, the agency serves more and more families through our annual Spirit of Giving Holiday Drive, thanks to the generosity, creativity and loyalty of our amazing sponsors. It is truly inspiring to see how we’ve become a holiday tradition for so many who support us at this time of year and a way to spread the season’s joy just a little bit further.”

Children’s Friend has a family selection process, approved wish lists and a staff of agency members and volunteers. Staff members working directly with clients select the neediest families to be part of the holiday drive. A representative from the agency then matches donors with a family that has the number, age and gender of children that the donors would like to sponsor. Sponsors include businesses, churches, schools, individuals and families. 
Boscov’s at Providence Place Mall is one of the agency’s corporate sponsors. The store will have an Angel Tree on display. Shoppers can take a name tag ornament from the tree and fulfill the Christmas wish right there at the store. Boscov’s employees will take care of the wrapping and delivery.

Many families have adopted the tradition of shopping for a less fortunate family and make a special day of it. Sponsors drop off the gifts at the main office of Children’s Friend in Providence. They may purchase any number of items from the wish list or share the list with others. Children’s Friend ensures that every donation reaches the intended family. A staff member will personally deliver the gifts directly to the family before the holiday.

The Children’s Friend Holiday Drive has become a holiday tradition for many Rhode Islanders. From office toy drives, to family shopping trips and annual holiday celebrations that ask for participants to bring a warm hat or pair of mittens, each donation helps to spread hope and joy to families in need. Children’s Friends also accepts cash donations and will use them to purchase gifts and clothing for the children. People can also volunteer their time for the Holiday Drive to help with check-in, gift sorting and delivery preparation. 

For more information, call 401-276-4300 or visit ChildrensFriendRI.org.

Wendy Fachon is a regular contributor to the magazine and host of the Story Walking Radio Hour on the Dream Visions 7 Radio Network. Learn more at StoryWalking.com.