Ten for Teens Giving Project Update
Here’s the most recent gift card count update and a bit from some local caseworkers!
What is Ten for Teens?
One thing that caseworkers consistently report is that teens are the most neglected groups when it comes to community holiday giving. Ten for Teens is a project that aims to give every teen in foster care in the Portland Metro area a $10 gift card this Christmas season.
There are approximately 868 teens in the Portland Metro foster care system. Our desire is to make sure every single teen receives not only a gift, but a message of hope and love.
In order to meet this goal, we need your help. We have currently received 58 gift cards, which means we still need 810. All it takes to help meet this goal is $10, a notecard or greeting card, and a stamp.
(BTW — I’m not worried with these numbers. You all always pull through in the last two weeks!)
Here’s a comment from Megan, a local caseworker:
I am a teen worker in Multnomah and it was so amazing to be able to give my kiddos a little something extra last year. They so appreciate the ability to have some money in their pocket to buy something. It really warmed my heart last year that a few of my teens even used their gift cards to buy gifts for their siblings or family members. So sweet.
And more from Jamie, a teen worker in SE Portland:
In the past the gift cards have been priceless for the teens on my caseload. It is very hard to shop for teens and so gift cards tend to be the perfect gift! Often times, my teens have elected to use the money on basic needs such as clothing and food. I remember specially a youth named Kevin and his sincere gratitude to Child Welfare for helping him during the holiday season. Another youth on my caseload, Maria, specifically uses the gift card to buy Christmas presents for her younger siblings each year.
On behalf of all of the youth I have served and the youth that will be served in the future, thank you so very much for you the kind and generous donations to improve the holiday experience for these youth and their families!
It would be fantastic if you’d get your gift card(s) in the mail by Monday, December 12. This will give us enough time to organize and distribute the cards to the Portland Metro area DHS offices and then for caseworkers to personally hand them out to the teens on their caseload.
Ready to give? Here’s what to do:
Purchase one or more $10 gift cards. Here are some suggested establishments:
- Dutch Bros.
- Fred Meyer
- Old Navy
- Regal Cinemas
- Century Theaters
- Game Stop
- Coldstone Creamery
Or anywhere else you think a teen might enjoy. The gift cards will be hand-picked for individuals by their case workers, so your choice doesn’t have to be entirely generic. You are welcome to get creative.
You are welcome to have the gift cards mailed directly to Frugal Living NW if you are purchasing them online to save time and postage. I will assume that any gift cards that come to my business’s mailbox are for this project and not an anonymous gift to me :). Please make sure you are sending an actual plastic gift card and not an emailed printable form with a barcode. A piece of paper is lame. Plastic is cool. Note some online retailers won’t send cards to PO Boxes (Target is one).
Write a personal message (optional).
The purpose of this message is to let your teen know that there is a real person or family behind the gift card. Let your teen know he is loved and special. Let her know your family is thinking of her this Christmas. It’s probably best to do this in a note or greeting card (a Christmas card would be perfect). Feel free to have your kids or grandkids draw a picture to go along with your card. No religious messages, such as “God loves you” or “God has a plan for your life,” or “We’re praying for you,” etc. please. It’s fine to use greetings that include “Christmas.”
Stick the gift card inside the greeting card/note and put it in an unsealed, unmarked envelope. If you seal it, we will have to open it and make your envelope look all trashy, so just don’t seal it.
This step is optional. You are welcome to send gift cards without messages.
Mail your gift card(s) and message(s) by December 12, 2016.
Now put your envelope in a larger one and mail it off! We (Frugal Living NW) will collect the gift cards and deliver them to the folks at Embrace Oregon, who will then distribute them to the case workers in the Portland Metro area. You do not have to put it in a padded envelope. The ones in the regular envelopes are just fine. Please mail your gifts to:
Frugal Living NW
PO Box 431
Troutdale, OR 97060
If you a purchasing a large number of gift cards (preferably more than 10) and would like a receipt for tax purposes, please include a self-addressed, stamp envelope in your package and we will provide one to the name on the envelope.
Please DO NOT hand deliver or mail your gifts directly to a DHS office. We (Frugal Living NW and Embrace Oregon) have a system set up to distribute these gifts in a way that doesn’t create extra work and confusion for the staff.
If you own a small business, are in a position in a larger business to make donation decisions, or an individual who would like to make a large donation to this project, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can get you a tax receipt for your gift.
Get more info on the Ten for Teens giving project here.
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