Gift of Giving
What is the Gift of Giving?
For the past 8 years, the Central School community has generously supported two Chicago-based charities during the holiday season – LYDIA Home and Metropolitan Family Services (MFS). Through our school’s donations, both organizations have been able to provide many families and children gifts for the holiday season.
What services do Metropolitan Family Services and LYDIA Home provide?
Metropolitan Family Services (MFS) provides a wide variety of programs and services designed to strengthen families and help them realize their full potential. Through mentoring and advocate programs such The Children’s Center, Parenting Fundamentals and Family Violence Intervention, MFS empowers families to learn and to thrive.
LYDIA Home, founded as an orphanage in 1916, has become a successful alternative to state-run foster care and family assistance agencies. LYDIA helps troubled families and children, reaching people in diverse communities with a range of services, including Safe Families for Children, Foster Care, Residential Treatment, Learn & Care Preschool, LYDIA Urban Academy and Counseling Services.
How can I donate to Gift of Giving?
Sign-ups to contribute to both LYDIA Home and MFS will be done via SignUpGenius. The SignUpGenius links will be available via the PTA website, the Central Scoop and Room Parent communication.
There are two SignUpGenius links for you to donate through – one for MFS and one for LYDIA – because the organizations have different needs and different suggested donation amounts. For Metropolitan Family Services we are often times providing supplemental gifts and support, and for LYDIA, since many of the children do not live with their families, our donations are the only gifts they will receive at the holidays.
LYDIA Home Link
Metropolitan Family Services Link
What types of gifts are needed and what is the price range?
The Gift of Giving committee talked with both organizations and learned that the needs of their families and children have changed. In the past we have given toys to both groups, but like last year, this year each organization has requested mainly gift cards for a variety of reasons.
Both organizations cited state-funding cutbacks as a primary reason why they are looking for gift cards compared to actual toys as in the past. Also, giving a family a gift card empowers them to get a present they know their child wants and look to buy it when that toy is on sale. In addition, LYDIA Home uses the gift cards to buy items such as toiletries, linens, pajamas, etc. for the kids throughout the year and not just at the holidays.
MFS has asked for gift cards in $25 increments to Target, Walmart and Toys R Us for presents for kids of all ages, and in addition, Game Stop, Best Buy and Old Navy for the older children. We are also hoping to help the MFS families with meals this holiday season with gift cards to stores such as Jewel, Target and Walmart. You may sign-up for as many gift cards as you would like to donate – any amount is very much appreciated!
For LYDIA Home this year we will be doing a combination of gift cards and “wish list” gifts. You can sign-up to donate gift cards to Target and/or Walmart in $25 increments. In addition, the children’s wish list items will be posted on SignUpGenius on Nov. 7. One theme across all wish lists this year is “good smelling” products (shower gels, body sprays, perfume,etc.). This request was made because many of the children that are residents of LYDIA Home are pre-teens and teenagers who can really appreciate (and need) these types of products.
Where do I drop off my donations?
There are several options for you to drop off your donation (see below). Prior to dropping off, please put your gift card in an envelope and inside be sure to include your name and contact number as well as the name of the child the donation is for, the number next to his or her name, age and gender. You do NOT need to wrap any gifts. However, if you have any extra wrapping paper you would like to donate, LYDIA Home would greatly appreciate it.
For “wish list” donations to LYDIA Home, we will email you the donation forms and tax documentation after you sign-up via SignUpGenius.
In Central’s front office by Mrs. O’Reilly’s desk there is a “Gift of Giving” bin. Envelopes can be dropped there. The bin will be checked twice a day.
There also will be three houses with drop-off boxes by their front doors where you can leave your donations:
824 Oakwood Ave.
905 Greenleaf Ave.
1046 Greenwood Ave.
If needed, committee members can pick up donations from your home.
What is the deadline for donations?
We will be collecting donations for both organizations from Monday, Nov. 7 through Monday, Dec. 5.
For questions please contact, Meghan MacKinnon (email@example.com), Deb Bernstein (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Dina Levine (email@example.com).