Locals beam with giving for 12 days campaign

The annual 12 Days of Giving charity campaign wrapped up on Nov. 29, but the donations are still coming in.

The campaign, which started Nov. 12, is put on by the Community Foundation of San Benito County and United Way. Five other groups participate in the campaign: CASA of San Benito County, Community Food Bank of San Benito County, Chamberlain’s Children Center, Emmaus House and Salvation Army. Donations to any of the five participating groups are matched.

Community Foundation CEO Gary Byrne said on Wednesday that the five participating nonprofits raised around $125,000 during the 12-day fundraising campaign. The numbers are still preliminary, as donations are still coming in, he said.

“What we like about this program is that it’s for basic needs: to help buy food at Christmas time, to help get gifts for the children,” Byrne said.

Byrne said this year’s total is up from last year, which had six participating nonprofits.

Last year’s iteration of the holiday fundraiser campaign also included the Homeless Coalition of San Benito County. The coalition is no longer providing services and has disbanded as a nonprofit. The county has since taken over homeless aid efforts in the community.

The 12 Days of Giving holiday campaign started five years ago with an idea conjured up by Bob Tiffany of the local Tiffany Motor Company Ford dealership.

Tiffany was approached by KSBW and asked if he’d be interested in participating in a regional charity campaign for the Salvation Army. Tiffany was more interested in finding a way to keep the money local and to serve the local people. The effort got off the ground after he spoke with Gary Byrne, CEO of the Community Foundation for San Benito County.

Esther Curtice, executive director of CASA, said the other participating nonprofits got involved not long after.

“Instead of each and every one of us asking for donations during the holidays when we need it most, we thought it’d be better to do it under the umbrella of 12 Days of Giving,” Curtice said.

Curtice said the campaign also asks for business sponsors to help with a matching fund. This year’s sponsors were Pierce Real Estate, Tiffany Ford, Recology, True Leaf, Teknova, Rotary of Hollister and the City of Hollister. Other partners in the event were Earthbound Farms, Greenwood Chevrolet, Corbin and Grocery Outlet.

“Each (sponsor) put up $2,500 that goes into a matching fund together with Community Foundation and United Way,” Curtice said.

Byrne said the campaign received $45,000 in matching funds just from the sponsors alone.

“We had these incredible sponsors and partners who were very generous in giving gifts,” Byrne said.

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