Local non-profit looking to help organizations

December 23, 2009 7:43:01 PM PST
You have heard many times this holiday season about organizations that help the needy with food and toys, with not nearly enough to go around. But the opposite is true for one non-profit in the South Bay -- it has more than enough.

At the Family Giving Tree in Santa Clara, toys and presents go out, while thousands sit in the warehouse. For the first time in the non-profits' 20 years, there's too much inventory.

This year, the Family Giving Tree's goal was to have enough gifts for 50,000 children, but more than 65,000 donations came in. The reason for the increase, according to the company's CEO, is a shift in public sentiment.

"It's awesome. I think it's because people are starting to really believe in the idea of not giving gifts to each other and helping children with their money and everyone is aware of how many kids there are that need help," said Jennifer Cullenbine from Family Giving Tree.

The Family Giving Tree already gives toys to 250 organizations in the Bay Area. But because of the surplus, they're now offering to help even more, small scale, tax exempt, non-profits.

"We've never been able to do this before, and it feels wonderful," said Cullenbine.

The increase is due in part to corporate donors, such as the international accounting firm KPMG. They chose to donate thousands of teddy bears in lieu of a holiday party.

"As we thought about planning that for this year, we just determined that it just didn't feel like it was the right thing to do given the economy," said Debbie Messemer from KPMG.

About 2,500 toys from the Family Giving Tree went to the Ecumenical Hunger Program in East Palo Alto. But there, it's still not enough.

"There's a huge demand and a small supply, especially for the teens and anyone over 13," said Jackie Owens from EHP.

Thirty percent of their teen clients have left disappointed, with only a small gift in hand. The majority of donations are for young children.

This Christmas will be a good one for some, but not for all.


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