The long-running annual program, sponsored by Interfaith Caregivers and the Times Herald, coordinates area businesses, schools, organizations and residents to provide holiday gifts for families and individuals they “adopt” in the county.
Megan Davis, Gift Tree coordinator and executive director of Interfaith, said this year’s program has 102 families and individuals who were referred to Gift Tree by local schools and human service agencies.
“Families were referred to our program by 14 different local agencies, including schools, Cattaraugus County Department of the ...ging, Headstart, Intandem and Cattaraugus County Department of Social Services, just to name a few,” Davis said. “We are helping families who have been impacted by job loss, health issues, or the working poor who are trying to make ends meet.”
Davis said there are new families with the Gift Tree program this year that have not been previously served through the project in the past.
“Even though a lot has changed this year, hearing the familiar voices, or getting emails inquiring about Gift Tree adoption, has been really comforting,” Davis said. “We’re hoping new adopters want to join this worthwhile cause, too.”
Times Herald employee Julie Keim, who lists the families in the publication, said that in addition to several large families with six children, there are many families with two to four children in need of holiday gifts. She noted that most of the families have children 8 years old and under including a newborn child. In addition, she said there are a few seniors and special needs individuals.
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It is hoped the community will be able to adopt all of the needy families and individuals, or provide donations to purchase gifts for the recipients.
In addition to Tuesday’s publication of the Gift Tree list, an updated listing will run each Tuesday in November in the Times Herald or until all families are adopted.
The Gift Tree listing will also be available in print and for e-subscribers of the Times Herald.
Gifts will be dropped off at the Fourth and Maple Complex on North Fourth Street in Allegany on Dec. 10 and the agency pick-up day will be Dec. 11. Agencies will be assigned pick-up times.
The drop-off, pick-up site has been moved from the Robert H. Livingston Community Center in Allegany as the former location is currently being used to conduct Covid-19 tests for Cattaraugus County.
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