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Frequently Asked Questions

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The following are the most “frequently asked questions” concerning sponsorship of children for the Holiday Program. Read on for specific shopping details and suggestions!

Click the "Shopping Profiles" tab (on the right)Check out our Shopping Profile   for more gift buying suggestions.

My information sheet is blank or very vague as far as interests, wishes, or needs. What do I do?

When an information sheet contains little or no specific information for a child, we ask that you refer to the shopping suggestion sheet included in each packet. You may also click here to get further ideas for the child you are sponsoring.

We receive thousands of information forms from the caseworkers, administrators and families with whom we work. It is not always possible for them to provide detailed lists due to time constraints, or lack of knowledge. The operation is a huge undertaking for many of these people, and their priority often becomes just making sure that the child or children get on our lists. We appreciate your understanding, and know that any gifts from your heart will certainly be just the right thing for these special children.

The ethnic background preference circled is “none given." Can you still get this information for me?

Ethnic background is given voluntarily. The information can be used to assist with certain gifts, such as make-up and hair care items, baby dolls, certain books and magazines, etc. If the family has chosen not to include this preference, we cannot ask a second time, as it is then no longer “voluntary”. Please choose your gifts in whatever manner you feel most comfortable.


Where do these children’s names come from?

The children’s names are supplied to us by over 30 human service organizations throughout the Delaware Valley. Some of the reasons for them being on our lists include abuse, neglect, homelessness, dire financial situations within the family, and many others.

My child is a 12-year-old boy. Under interests, it just says “sports." How do I know which sport or what his favorite team is?

While just “sports” is rather broad, it may be included to shed some light as far as what type of child you are sponsoring. Unless it is specifically noted, any type of gifts pertaining to sports will be appropriate. Basketball, football, soccer ball, sport bags, etc. will all be winners. As far as favorite team or athlete, oftentimes hometown favorites, like the Eagles, Flyers, Sixers, Wings, Union, or Phillies are great picks, or any of the popular names and teams will be a good choice. Also, consider a gift certificate to a sporting goods store!

My sheet just says “dolls," but there are hundreds from which to choose. How do I know the right one?

Listing dolls is a clue as to the child’s likes and interests. With that can go dress-up, playing house, strollers, etc. As far as choosing the right doll, go from your heart! If you don’t trust that method, look at the age breakout for dolls.

My sheet has “blue” listed as the favorite color, but I could only get the coat/sweater/pants/etc.) in red. Is that OK?

Absolutely! Favorite colors are simply provided as a guide. We trust your judgment!

Music, Music, Music! It just says music, but what kind? And what about "Reading"?

In this situation, as well as when “Reading” is listed, we suggest a gift certificate.

We have a lot of good used clothing the same size as the child we are sponsoring; can we wrap that up?

We ask that all gifts for the Holiday Program be new, principally for two reasons. One reason is that in cases where there are siblings in the family, it can be very difficult for one child to see brothers and sisters getting brand-new gifts if theirs are used. The second reason is that all gifts come to us wrapped, so we have no way of checking the condition of used items. We are happy to refer the generous contributions of used clothing and toys to many other area organizations that could gratefully use them.

Can we donate good used clothing and toys BESIDES the gifts we have purchased for the child we are sponsoring and just send them along with our gift bag?

Unfortunately, we do not have a site to store the items, or any way to facilitate the huge number of used items that would come our way through the Holiday Program, given its size. Again, we can refer you other organizations that could use the added help.

Our special needs list says “crib." We cannot afford a new one, but would be happy to spruce up our own and give it to this family. Is this acceptable?

In this case, the answer is yes. We have accepted used cribs in the past. We only ask that they are up to code (with bar spacing) and in good, clean, useable condition. Tie an extra tag and piece of ribbon on the crib, and be sure to put the child’s number on the tag. You will then need to bring it to the drop-off site with your other gifts.

The child we are sponsoring has asked for a bike. While we are comfortable covering the costs of clothing, a coat and toys, we just cannot afford the bike as well. Is this OK?

Please know that all included information is only there to guide you. Never, ever feel pressured to do more than you feel you can. Anything listed is a suggestion only. The gifts you choose and give will delight the child, you can be sure of that.

Can I sponsor a child with a few friends/co-workers/family members?

YES! The addition of another sponsor or two will certainly lighten the burden. It remains a win-win for all involved.

Should I include the clothing receipts with the gift bag?

For many reasons, we ask that you DO NOT include receipts. Simply cut the price off the tag, leave the tag with the store’s name intact. Most stores will happily exchange for size, selection if the tags are still on the item.

I would like to include a holiday meal for the whole family; is this allowed?

Yes…What a thoughtful and kind idea! Please be sure that all food is non-perishable, i.e. canned ham, box/canned potatoes, dessert mix, bread mix, etc. Place in a separate bag, and ask your coordinator for an extra color-coded ribbon and tag. Write your child’s number on the tag, tie the ribbon and drop-off with your gift bag. Some people choose to do food store gift certificates. This is also wonderful. We suggest a widely available chain, such as Acme. Place the certificates in a card, and address the card to:
“The family of (child’s name)”
Include the card in the gift bag, or securely tape it to the outside.

Due to the size/number of gifts I have purchased, they do not all fit in the provided bag. What should I do?

Your coordinator has extra supplies, including bags. Be sure that any additional bags also have the same colored ribbon, as well as a tag with your child’s number attached.

My packet does not have a ribbon. Can I use anything I have?

Please be very sure to see your coordinator concerning missing or additional ribbon. The ribbon color is our key to where the bag goes during delivery. No ribbon, or the wrong color ribbon creates many difficulties, including the gifts getting to the wrong spot.

I would like to include a gift(s) for the parent(s) of the child I am sponsoring. Can you get me information on them, and if not, what do you suggest?

Many sponsors choose to include a gift for the parents. While it is not possible for us to gain any specific information on the children’s parents, we suggest any of the following generic ideas:
- Bath set, perfume, aftershave
- Gift certificates to movie theatre, food store, music/book store, department store
- Hat, gloves, scarf
- Disposable camera with a gift certificate for film developing

I have somehow fallen behind, and much as I would like to, can longer honor my commitment to shop for the child I signed up to sponsor. Should I assume that somebody else will take care of it?

We certainly understand. We do ask that you return the sponsor sheet and packet to the coordinator who assigned you the child as soon as possible so that another sponsor might be found.

I am terrible with deadlines! Does it really matter if I am a few days late?

Unfortunately, it does. We take the deadlines to the very last possible date. If you know you are going to be late for any reason, please contact your coordinator to make whatever arrangements are necessary.

November is just so early to be thinking of the Holidays. Why is this program in full swing now?

Believe it or not, every day is needed and crucial to the gifts getting to their special destinations in time for the holidays. After you have left your gifts at your particular site, the over 6000 bags begin a journey filled with many stops - from your group’s coordinator, to our “load and sort” team, to the special delivery crew, on to the agencies and organizations that submit the names… and finally to the children. Thank you for jumping on board; hopefully it will be the perfect start to your Holiday Season.

My profile sheet notes that the child is in a homeless shelter, and therefore cannot receive a bike. What exactly does this mean?

Our sponsors are so very generous… and sometimes add a special or surprise gift for the child - in some cases, a bike. Some of the shelters/group homes we work with have shared with us the difficulty that this can present. With families of two, three, and four children sharing one or two rooms, there is no place to store a bike. It is heartbreaking to the family, and the shelter staff as well. We added the checkbox this year to better serve the children, and at the same time guide the sponsor.

This only applies when specifically noted on the sponsor sheet.

Click the "Shopping Profiles" tab (on the right)Check out our Shopping Profile   for more gift buying suggestions.