United Way of Bucks County is asking the community to help older kids and teens in need this holiday season.
The organization’s annual Holiday Gift Card Drive, which runs November 9th through December 18th, provides gifts for kids who are not served by conventional toy drives.
This year, because of the pandemic, the organization expects to see significant increase in the number of families seeking help. Organizers note that they had more than 360 requests within the first 24 hours their portal was open. This is more than double the number of requests during the same period in 2019 – and requests will increase as the holidays draw near.
“This year, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people in our community are having a tough time. Families who were getting by are now struggling. About 20% of our requests so far are from people who haven’t needed help in the past,” says Faith Parkinson, Project Lead. “We want to be able to serve everyone who asks for help, but so much will depend on community support,” she adds.
Last year, an overwhelming response from the community enabled United Way to serve over 1,600 older kids and teens, a record number for the organization. This was a huge increase from the 2018 drive, which served just under 1,200 young people.
The Holiday Gift Card Drive is accepting donations, now through December 18th. All donations go to local teens and older kids who are experiencing a true need this holiday season.
Parkinson suggests that community members interested in helping consider donating directly to the Holiday Gift Card Drive at www.uwbucks.org/giftcarddrive. Online donations allow the organization to purchase more gift cards in bulk at a discount – and that means being able to help more kids.
She also notes that gifts can be made in honor or in memory of a loved one. “This is a perfect gift for that person on your list who really cares about young people,” says Parkinson. “You can make a donation to the Holiday Gift Card Drive in their honor and we will acknowledge your gift with a beautiful holiday card and a story about a kid who received help.”
To donate online or learn about other ways to give, visit www.uwbucks.org/giftcarddrive. Checks can be mailed to United Way of Bucks County, 413 Hood Blvd., Fairless Hills, PA 19030 with “Gift Card Drive” on the memo line.