Gifts for Girls

The Problem

Every year in our community, there is a program that distributes holiday gifts and food to families in need. In 2008, I (Erin) was volunteering for this program by picking out gifts for families to receive when I realized that there were hardly any gifts for girls ages 8-14. Most gifts being donated were for babies, boys, or younger girls. The next year, my friend (Annie) and I set out to help solve this problem. In our first year we were able to collect 65 gifts to donate to the cause! We have been doing this for 4 years, and in the most recent year we were able to collect 226 gifts! While this helps a lot of girls, the gifts were gone in a matter of hours, leaving hundreds more girls without appropriate gifts for the holidays. We want to expand our collection even more to help make the holidays brighter for even more girls.

Plan of Action

Our collection has previously had 4 different parts to it, consisting of: 1) Every year we have a booth at a local craft fair to raise money to buy gifts. This past year we raised over $400! This also helps us because it is a great way to get the word out. We make sure everyone who comes to our booth walks away knowing what we do and how they can help, and we even give everyone a business card with a website address and an e-mail where they can contact us. 2) We have collection boxes around the community. In our first year, we had collection boxes in our school and a local university. This year, we have branched out by also collecting at local businesses. We hope to spread the word and have even more collection box sites next year. 3) We collect monetary donations. Through our website, we were able to collect $135 dollars in just one weekend last year! Many people are more willing to donate money and have us do the shopping if they don't know what to get girls that age. Because we are in this age group ourselves, we are able to buy a variety of gifts that girls our age would like, and make sure that there are plenty of gifts for different types of girls. Last year some of our favorite items we collected or donated included science kits, watercolor supplies, books, sleds, and much more. 4) We reach out to local businesses and ask them for donations. Many businesses our very willing to help, and we even got a donation of 24 books from a local bookstore last year! We hope to expand our collection by continuing to use this format and getting the word out as much as we can! Last year we were featured in both of our community newspapers, and after that we noticed a significant spike in donations.

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