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Partnership fosters the season of giving
Customers at 39 Starbucks locations in the Valley can pick a card with the Christmas wish list of local foster and at-risk youths. - photo by ALYSSON AREDAS / The Journal

Tis the season for family, holiday feasts and—arguably the most important—giving. For those interested in not only providing presents underneath their own Christmas tree, but also the trees of foster and at-risk youth, Aspiranet and Starbucks have just the way with their 6th annual gift drive.

“We are very grateful to Starbucks for its continuous support making sure the youth we serve are thought of and cared for throughout the holiday season,” said Vernon Brown, CEO of Aspiranet. “We always see the greatest need among our older youth between the ages of 10 and 17.”

Until Dec. 19, foster and at-risk youths’ gift wishes will be on display at 39 Starbucks locations throughout the Central Valley. Customers who are interested in participating can select the gift wish of a child, and then return unwrapped gifts to the store location with original gift tag attached.

“This year, our goal is to collect as many gifts as possible for the 750 kids currently being served in Stanislaus and Merced counties and help make their holiday season a little brighter,” said Sandra Genova, core program director of Aspiranet in Turlock.

Last year, the partnership between Aspiranet and Starbucks led to the donation of more than 6,000 gifts to foster and at-risk youth.

This year, the two organizations hope to bring in even more with the implementation of a virtual gift drive, which allows customers to donate online at

 “We encourage those who wish to donate to open their hearts to foster and at-risk youth of all ages this year,” continued Brown.