The Community Foundation for San Benito County and the United Way have partnered with six nonprofits to create the “12 Days of Giving,” which will launch at the Lights On Celebration at the end of November. As part of the 12-day event, residents can give monetary donations online; donate toys, clothing, food and other goods in person on Dec. 1; and celebrate at a Dec. 8 event at Tiffany Motors, which will feature visits with Santa and other activities.
Stephanie Hicks, director of community outreach and leadership development for the Community Foundation for San Benito County, said the six nonprofits that will participate in the fundraising effort are “safety net” services. The nonprofits include the Community Food Bank of San Benito County; Emmaus House; the Homeless Coalition of San Benito; CASA of San Benito; Chamberlains Children’s Center and the Salvation Army.
“So many nonprofits go out to the community asking for the same thing,” said Esther Curtice, the executive director of CASA of San Benito County. “We thought it would be much more beneficial if we gathered our resources and do this together.”
Hicks said Community Foundation has offered to match dollar for dollar any monetary donations that are collected as part of the outreach, and up to $20,000. She said the foundation is providing $10,000 of the match through a grant and the other $10,000 is coming from sponsorship. The sponsors include Graniterock, Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital, Teknova and Tiffany Motors.
“It’s the safety net services that really offer critical, life-saving services,” Hicks said, of the agencies selected to participate. “We are hoping that the community rallies around these very important agencies and helps make a difference in the community.”
In the past, some of the agencies have hosted their own food, money or toy drives. The holiday season giving often tides the Community Food Bank months into the new year. CASA of San Benito and Chamberlains Children’s Center have done toy drives for the last several years. The Salvation Army also does a toy and food drive to benefit local residents. This year all the agencies will work together, with the donations divide between the groups.
Hicks said they will collaborate to make sure the agencies get the items they need most, such as food donations going to the Food Bank, while clothing and toys would go to the other agencies. Monetary donations, along with the matching funds will be split six ways.
“We started meeting in the latter part of 2011,” Curtice said. “So we’ve been talking about it and thinking about how we could do this and how it would work.”
Hicks said the event will also offer the nonprofits a chance to thank the donors who help them each year.
“We want to recognize the caring community that we have, especially during the holidays,” Hicks said. “We want to kick it off in a celebratory way at Lights On and have a float – it gets people ready for the holiday season.”
While the monthly planning meetings continue, those involved say a website devoted to the event will be launched soon. People can make donations online through the website or get more information about the “12 Days of Giving.”