2021 junior class continues tradition in leading Family Giving Tree donations

January 22, 2020 — by Samantha Yee

The Family Giving Tree nonprofit organization is dedicated to giving to families and children living in poverty by way of help from Bay Area schools.

From Nov. 11 to Dec. 5, the office was decorated with a Christmas tree, lights and cards in the shape of presents that hung like ornaments. Dozens of gifts like board games and action figures were arranged around the tree skirt. 

A closer look at the cards on the tree revealed that this was part of the Holiday Wish Drive program.

The Family Giving Tree nonprofit organization is dedicated to giving to families and children living in poverty by way of help from Bay Area schools to inspire “values of kindness, philanthropy and volunteerism in the community,” according to the Family Giving Tree website.

The Class of 2021 has been leading the Family Giving Tree program since their freshman year. The Christmas tree in the school office is hung with cards called “tags” that have the name of a student or child and the toy they have requested written on them.

Students contribute to the program’s success by taking tags off the tree, buying the corresponding toy, attaching the tag to the toy and placing the gift under the tree with a new toothbrush attached to it.

“The junior class is committed to making sure families in a broader community have a wonderful Christmas or holiday season,” assistant principal Brian Safine said. “They realize that the Saratoga community has great resources, so my belief in their belief is that we can share those resources to make the holiday season in other families brighter.”

In past years, former service learning coordinator Tim Gallagher helped guide the project, but after Gallagher took a different job at another high school, former principal Paul Robinson has stepped in this year to fill in for Gallagher’s position. The junior class office has also taken on more of a role in the organization of the program, setting up the Christmas tree in the office and leading the advertising for the program, when they had primarily worked on the marketing for the event in the past.

“Mr. Robinson is still testing out the waters, so then we’re taking more of the responsibility of actually contacting Family Giving Tree. It’s a little bit different this year for us,” junior class president Cynthia Zhang said.

Since Gallagher left, the juniors had to also account for communicating with elementary schools for spreading awareness of Family Giving Tree.

On Nov. 18, a group of juniors visited Argonaut, Foothill and Saratoga elementary schools to deliver tags for families there to take charge of. They spoke at an Argonaut assembly about Family Giving Tree and delivered 25 tags to the office to be advertised, so students who wanted to donate a gift could pick tags up.

“The Holiday Drive not only helps out less fortunate families in providing a Christmas gift, but it also gives students an opportunity to help out during the holidays,” Zhang said.

In 2018, more than 650 Bay Area nonprofit establishments and schools helped the toy drive fulfill almost 78,000 holiday wish lists, contributing more than 40,000 backpacks and supplies to people in need.  

Family Giving Tree remains the largest gift and backpack donation organization in California. This year, over 250 gifts were delivered in the district.

“It’s really a tribute to the generosity of the whole community from leadership,” Safine said.

6 views this week

Add new comment

Prove that you're human:

Photo of the week

Junior guard Isaac Sun makes his defensive presence felt during a recent varsity boys basketball game.

Upcoming Events

March 2: Career Day

March 7: Spring Orchestra Concert

March 9: March Madness Begins


What is the most important change for next year's bell schedule?


Falcon In Print

Prime time for Indian culture

Scanners streamline tutorial sign-ins

New quarantine policy enforced for coronavirus

Career Day returns to introduce professional paths