The Giving Tree Needs Your Help!

giving tree

A time honored local tradition of holiday helping has faced tough times in recent years.  Last year, this important initiative struggled right to the last day to nail down enough donors to provide much needed gifts of warm winter clothing for local children in need [see story:iBerkshires.com].  This year, the challenge has been increased by about two hundred additional children on the list.

The Berkshire Community Action Council’s Giving Tree Program, which collects donations of warm clothing to children in need, came to the mall with more than 700 names of low income children in need of these most basic essentials, and is currently down to about 220, with three days remaining to its {Thursday] December 20 deadline. [Update: 150 names left at 4pm Wednesday] 

“What can we do?” said volunteer Regina White, “We can’t turn down any applicants.  These kids need our help.”

The non-funded program, run by staff and numerous volunteers, depends on generous individuals and businesses who sign up to “sponsor” a particular child.  Donors pick an envelope of a young girl or boy, complete with sizes and clothing items needed, purchase the items at the retailers of their own choosing, wrap them, then bring them back to the Giving Tree in the Berkshire Mall’s center court, near J.C. Penney to be sent on to the family that needs them.

The mall tree is but one component of the countywide program, with additional lists of names being handled by North and South county branches of BCAC, along with many hundreds that are picked up by local businesses and their employees before the remainder go to the mall volunteers.  In total, members of the community help gift clothes to more than 2000 kids who need them each year.

This year, a special 30% off discount is being offered for Giving Tree sponsors by The Children’s Place (must show giving tree envelope to qualify), also located at the Berkshire Mall.

About 80 more names were generously picked up today (Monday), leaving approximately 220 remaining to be helped by caring people like yourselves!

What are you waiting for? Let’s do this thing.  I’m off to pick up a few things for a little boy named Thelonious, whose favorite color is black.  If you make it there, please drop me a comment here or email me at joe.durwin@gmail.com to let me know what the current count is.

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