Donations still needed toward ’12 Days’ match

Bailey Grace, Marina Hurtado and Lila Girman play angels Saturday during a short half hour set of The San Benito Dance Academy's The Nutcracker at the 12 Days of Giving Fundraiser at Tiffany Ford.

While the 12 Days of Giving campaign held a finale on Dec. 8, residents can continue to give to the campaign through the end of the month with a total match of up to $20,000 for every dollar donated through the end of 2012.

The effort is a partnership between six nonprofits that provide safety net services, the Community Foundation for San Benito County and the United Way, that started at the Lights on Celebration at the end of November. Residents were encouraged to donate food, toys, clothing and monetary donations to the participating agencies.

The agencies that have benefited through the holiday season include:

• Emmaus House

• Community Food Bank for San Benito County

• Salvation Army

• Chamberlain’s Children Center

• Homeless Coalition of San Benito County

• CASA of San Benito County

“We were really thankful that the toys and food donations that came in were sufficient,” said Stephanie Hicks, the director of development and community outreach for the Community Foundation. “All the groups that accept toys had enough for what they need for the clients.”

Hicks said the campaign raised about $10,000 so they decided to allow community members to continue to donate through the end of the year, with hopes that they can raise at least $20,000 total, with donations matched dollar for dollar up to $20,000. The match goes toward monetary donations made to the general campaign, not to the specific charities. Match sponsors include Teknova, Graniterock, Tiffany Ford and Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital.

“Next year we will revamp how we advertise the challenge match,” Hicks said. “It will look a little different.”

This year’s campaign included the launch at the Lights On Celebration, a collection day on Dec. 1 and the finale celebration on Dec. 8 at Tiffany Ford.

“We are definitely planning on making some changes in terms of the date and when (the events are held,)” Hicks said. “We might piggyback with a community event. It might be during the Lights On instead of separate.”

Hicks said the group thanks Bob Tiffany and Tiffany Motors staff members for their hospitality in hosting the 12 days of giving finale. The finale included entertainment such as Mr. O’s Jazz Band, the Oriana Chorale, a mariachi band, the San Benito Dance Academy and JJ’s Dance, among others.

“There was a variety of music everyone can enjoy,” she said.

Next year, they may move the event to a more central location such as downtown Hollister where they might be able to draw in bystanders who are shopping or eating at local restaurants.

“That itself would have been a draw,” Hicks said, of people walking past the event, “And we missed that opportunity.”

Hicks said she was happy with the collaboration between the agencies, who themselves said they received a chance to educate the community about services.

Those interested in making a monetary donation, can send a check to: The Community Foundation for San Benito County. Write in memo line: 12 days of giving and send to: Community Foundation for San Benito County, P.O. Box 2062, Hollister, CA 95024 or visit 12daysofgiving.info to donate online.

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