United Way’s Volunteer Center & 211 WORK TO PROVIDE LAST-MINUTE HOLIDAY GIFT & FOOD ASSISTANCE THROUGH GIVING TREE PROGRAM
United Way of Greater Chattanooga announces its Volunteer Center will host the 2010 Giving Tree on Friday December 17, Saturday December 18 and Monday December 20 during normal business hours at a location in the East Lake Community.
The Giving Tree is a joint project between United Way’s Volunteer Center, the Gifts in Kind Warehouse and the 2-1-1 Call Center. It is sponsored in part by the Corporate Volunteer Council. Through this project the Volunteer Center collects donations of toys, gift cards, food and other gift items to distribute to families in need who have been unable to meet registration deadlines or clearance through other holiday programs. These families are usually referred to the Giving Tree for last minute help. If they have not been referred, they can call United Way’s 2-1-1 Resource Center for assistance.
Most area agencies, churches and local nonprofit organizations that provide holiday assistance stopped accepting requests for help on December 10. But United Way’s 2-1-1 and the Volunteer Center can still help families in need who call after December 10 – thanks to the Giving Tree.
This program allows qualifying families – who have received no holiday help through other assistance programs – to "shop" at the East Lake location for gifts. They are assigned a shopping appointment and given directions to this special store. Shoppers are expected to secure their own transportation to and from the store location. Transportation and deliveries cannot be provided.
Each child selects one gift for each parent and parents choose two gifts for each child. Families who come to shop also get a goody bag that includes items donated by McKee Foods, First Tennessee Bank, M&M Mars, and Creative Discovery Museum.
Volunteers will be standing by to help these families with their selections and to wrap gifts for them, just like shopping at the mall. Last year, more than 60 families were assisted through this program – an all time high.
“The real heroes of this project are the many companies, individuals and churches that have donated to make this possible,” said Volunteer Center Director Windy Brooks. “We always worry about having enough for all the families, and the number of families who need this service seems to grow every year.”
Generous organizations that have donated toys and other gifts to the Giving Tree to date this year are TVA, Shaw Industries’ LM Plant, Bethel Baptist Church, CBL & Associates, First Baptist Church, and the Tennessee Valley Public Power Association.
If you, or a family you know, need holiday help, please dial 2-1-1 as soon as possible, but no later than December 20. Areas outside of Hamilton County may need to dial 423.265.8000 or toll free 866.921.3035 instead. If you would like to donate toys or other gifts to the Giving Tree program, please call Windy Brooks at 423-752-0316.