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Paradise crew makes  time for one final thank you to Family Giving Tree.
Photo credit: Dean McCully

We put out a call, five days before Christmas, to help the Family Giving Tree sort and wrap thousands of gifts for the children of Paradise/Butte County.  Without hesitation, Veterans and community members answered the call and showed up by the hundreds.  Because of this, Family Giving Tree was able to meet the deadline and successfully delivered presents to the children of Paradise.

Here’s a comment from our Board Secretary, Dean McCully; who helped coordinate this massive project.

Once the word went out, literally hundreds of volunteers started showing up at Family Giving Tree warehouse in north San Jose.   In fact, there were so many volunteers that everybody was getting a little nervous about unqualified people hanging around, maybe messing things up, or even getting hurt.

In fact, by Friday morning, it did start crossing our minds that we might actually have to turn away volunteers.  But nope, Jennifer the director of Family Giving Tree realized that she had enough volunteers to actually pull back thousands of unwrapped gifts, and have volunteers wrapping them.  So tons of unwrapped gifts got wrapped, thanks to an immense surge of volunteers.  Wow what an operation!   Wrapping was going so fast and furious that I think if anybody stood still for more than a few seconds, they would have gotten wrapped.   But nobody was standing still, and everybody was moving at lightning speed, and thousands of gifts were wrapped as well as sorted and ready for distribution.

The Paradise wildfire sucked.  50,000 homeless, 14,000 structures burned, almost 90 people known dead and 150+ still missing, lives put on hold or even destroyed.  But once volunteers engaged, thousands of kids had a little brighter Christmas…

You can read Dean’s accounts and see the results here.

Thank you to all who paused from their holiday preparations and celebrations; and made time to make a dismal holiday for others so much brighter – to give hope and joy. 

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