Whenever anyone tries to tell me that people have “lost the spirit of the season,” I only need to tell them about the holiday gift drive that my agency, Aspiranet, participates in each year with Starbucks in the Turlock area. For the past four years, we’ve had the amazing good fortune to impact the lives of thousands of foster youth because of this special partnership that helps collect thousands of gifts at hundreds of Starbucks locations throughout California. This year, in partnership with nearly 300 Starbucks stores across the state, we were able to collect and distribute 4,500 gifts for foster youth – a 30 percent increase from the previous year.
What inspires me most are the comments from participants in this gift drive, which reveals not only their kindness and generosity, but how much they are looking for ways to give back:
“We love to participate in this holiday drive for children. The holidays are for children. We enjoy making their time special.”
“I love doing this every year. I don't have a lot of money to give, so buying gifts for the kids during the holidays is something that I can do help in a small way... Thank you!”
“It's fantastic and simple to do. I wish I could see the face of the little boy when he receives the gift.”
What also inspires me is the love and care for children I see demonstrated through this gift drive. I couldn’t end this letter without emphasizing Aspiranet’s most important work: finding loving and caring homes for children in need, particularly older youth and siblings. If you are reading this, and are moved to learn more about foster care and adoption, please visitwww.aspiranetheroes.org to learn more about our life-changing work.
Thank you to my internal team, the entire Starbucks team, and to each and every person who so generously participated in making this year’s gift drive a success.
— Sharon Salaiz, district director Aspiranet Turlock