Fewer companies can give to The Giving Tree

November 25, 2008 11:58:18 PM PST
The economy is making this holiday season especially tough on so many Bay Area families and with donations way down. The charities that help out so many families can't meet the enormous need. One charity has been forced to drop 10,000 children from its help list.

For three-year-old Aliya, Christmas is a time for magic, not for learning tough life lessons. However, this year is different because there may be no gifts sent to the Hernandez home.

"In the past 11 years they have given gifts ever since my first son," said Evelyn Hernandez, from San Jose.

All of their gifts come from the family giving tree, a non-profit that gathers presents for needy children, but for the first time, the center will turn away 10,000 children.

The way the family giving tree works is a company will pick up anywhere from 20 to 2,000 special cards and each card represents a child's wish. They'll take these cards back to the office and an employee will then make that wish come true, but this year companies are picking up fewer of these cards because of the economy.

"They're having shut downs and layoffs. "It's very scary at this point. We need 40,000 wish cards, so we need 400 places to call and say, 'We can take wish cards,'" says Jennifer Cullenbine, from the Family Giving Tree.

Dan Young's company did. Last year, his company took 100 cards, but this year, he picked up only 50.

"This building used to have a lot of mortage and real estate people in here and they've really gone way down in size," says Dan Youngs, a Farmers Insurance agent.

"Jerry would like a Bratz scooter," says Cullenbine.

The children's cards are picked at random. Daniel Perez knows his may not be.

"Mostly every year we have presents and it's going to be difficult without presents but like she said, there's always next year," said Daniel Perez, an 11 year old.


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