Donate gift cards to help your neighbors in need this holiday season

Thirty-eight families in our town have sought help from Southborough Youth & Family Services this year after facing challenging life situations from job loss to accidents to unexpected medical issues. That’s an all-time high for the organization. You can help your neighbors facing a difficult holiday season by contributing to the annual SYFS Gift Card Drive.

“Before our unfortunate accident, we were a family that always gave and it was hard to ask for help,” wrote one of last year’s gift card recipients in a letter to SYFS. “For everyone who has contributed to the Holiday Giving Program, I thank you from the bottom of my heart…What you all did does matter and it is very much appreciated.”

“The gift cards enabled parents to buy gifts for their children and teens, who would otherwise have gone without, and also to purchase the necessities for keeping the household afloat: food, prescriptions and other health-related items, gasoline, etc,” SYFS Director Laurie Sugarman-Whittier said of the program.

A number of local institutions are participating in the gift card drive, including Finn, Woodward, and Neary schools, Southborough Village Preschool, and Kindergroup. The last day for donating gift cards is Friday, December 10.

Kathryn Marous, who is coordinating the collection on behalf of SOS and the schools, says so far collections have been light.

“I panic every year because we always have very few cards in the days before the deadline, and this year is no different,” Marous said. “Southborough always comes through for the elementary school gift card drive, but often we get up to half of our gift cards after the deadline. SYFS still uses them, but usually not in time for Christmas.”

Suggestions for gift cards include ones from drug stores like Walgreens or CVS, gas stations, grocery stores, and places like Target, Wal-mart, Sears, Toys ‘R’ Us, and TJMaxx or Marshalls.

If you have a child in one of the elementary schools, they can bring gift cards to the school office. If you don’t, gift cards can be placed in a envelop labeled SYFS and dropped off at the Town House no later than Friday (remember that the Town House closes at noon on Fridays).

If you need some more incentive to go out and buy a gift card, read these words of thanks from some of last year’s recipients.

“Thank you so much for the generous holiday donations for our family. We never expected to be faced with job loss—it has been an extremely difficult time for our family. We truly appreciate the kindness of SYFS and the community.  Next year, we hope to contribute to another needy family. Thanks again for helping my children have a wonderful holiday in spite of our challenging situation.”

“Thank you so much for all you do with the Christmas Giving Program. Our holiday was more wonderful than I could have expected thanks to you and the generous families of Southborough. Thank you!”

“It’s hard to find the words to express how much I appreciate the generosity shown to my child and I. You’ve truly made a difference in these difficult times. My daughter was absolutely thrilled with her presents, and in turn, that brought me so much happiness…”

“I wanted to say thank you to all that have helped make the Christmas season that much brighter. The smiles on the kids’ faces were because of all you do for us. Thank you for all the generosity and thoughtfulness…”

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13 years ago

This is such an easy way to give and every dollar makes a difference. Whatever you can manage is helpful. Really. Even $10.

Think about it – a $10 Target gift card can buy a Disney princess doll, an action figure, or some snuggly PJs. And if everyone who could afford to give $10 did so, lots of kids would get some really nice gifts this year.

If you are part of Kindergroup, don’t forget you can give your day’s organizer cash this week, if you can’t get to the store to get a gift card!

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