Backpack Drive FAQ

 

WHAT IS THE BACKPACK DRIVE?

Over the past decade, Community of Friends has brightened the holidays for area children with its annual Stocking Drive (and backpack drive in the Fall).  Now, SPUR has been selected by Community of Friends to carry this great work forward (read more here). The Holiday Cheer Stocking Drive provides essentials and other meaningful gifts to children in Lynn, Marblehead and Salem.  For the 2015 holiday season, we anticipate bringing joy to approximately 400 children.

 

HOW ARE CHILDREN SELECTED WHO RECEIVE STOCKINGS?

Children are identified by their case worker or school adjustment counselor, as these professionals work closely with the children and know their personal circumstances.  Among other considerations, effort is made to select children who are not receiving gifts from other groups and organizations; intentionally helping to distribute the abundant generosity of the season, bringing joy to as many children as possible.  

 

HOW CAN I HELP?

​Sign up to sponsor a stocking.  Hold a drive within your social circle or office to collect items which we can use to supplement partial or unsponsored stockings.  Make a monetary tax-deductible donation to SPUR so that we may purchase outstanding items.  SHARE our Facebook posts, spread the word about our organization and the Holiday Cheer Stocking Drive - get others involved.

 

WHEN CAN I GET STARTED?

Sponsorship begins Monday November 16th.  Stockings and the personalized wish list for each child will be available at participating community partners.  

 

HOW DO I SPONSOR A STOCKING?

Simply visit us at one of community partners during a scheduled time or drop by Mud Puddle Toys, Re~find or WorkTable during business hours. Select a personalized wish list, an oversized handmade stocking and a gift tag.  The gift tag is blank on the back side should you wish to extend a simple holiday message.  Use the personalized wish list for insight to the child's likes and interest.  Fill the stocking with items as you see fit within the stocking budget, include a toothbrush and tube of toothpaste and perhaps some healthy snacks.  Then, return the stocking to one of our community partners.

 

WHEN DO STOCKINGS NEED TO BE RETURNED?

We ask that stockings be returned to one of these locations as soon as possible, and no later than Wednesday, December 9th at 5:00pm.  NOTE: the child's original gift tag must be attached to the stocking upon return so we can properly route your generous gift to the child(ren) for whom you shopped.

 

WHAT GOES IN THE STOCKING?

Working with each individual child, the case workers and school adjustment counselors submit a wish list that includes something the child wants, something the child needs, something to wear and something to read.  This wish list is merely a guide so Sponsors have an opportunity to connect personally and get a sense of what the child could really use, as well as know what is wished for. This insight hopefully allows Sponsors to shop with ease and find assurance the items selected will not only be appreciated but bring great joy.

We encourage Sponsors to select whatever items make sense to them within the suggested stocking budget and consider also including a toothbrush, toothpaste and healthy snack such as peanut free granola bars.  The wish list is not a required and in many cases, could not all be included and stay within the $60-75 range so again, it is merely a guide for ideas.

 

CAN I JUST FILL MY STOCKING AS I SEE FIT?

Our goal, with your help, is to make each child feel special, but none more so than the other.  In all cases, multiple children from the same program or school receive stockings, and in some instances, siblings.  As such, we encourage sponsors to use the provided wish list as a guide to help ensure similarity, value wise, among stockings.  If you are moved by the spirit of giving beyond your child’s wish list, we ask you to consider sponsoring an additional stocking or purchasing items for us to supplement partial or unsponsored stockings.  

 

I WOULD LIKE TO HELP BUT CAN’T COMMIT TO SPONSORING AN ENTIRE STOCKING, CAN I STILL HELP?

Most definitely! We understand the holidays are a time of great giving and your involvement with our Holiday Cheer Stocking Drive on any level will be deeply impactful.  If you cannot commit to sponsoring an entire stocking, consider partnering with another family; making a monetary donation to SPUR so that we may purchase items as needed for the drive; or contributing items we can draw from to fill partial or unsponsored stockings. 

The most useful items include:

- Gift cards such as CVS, Target, Market Basket, Stop and Shop, Dunkin Donuts

- Personal care items such as deodorant, children’s toothpaste, children’s toothbrush, lotion, soap

- Warm hats, gloves, scarves, socks 

- Healthy and filling peanut free snacks such as cereal bars, granola bars, peanut free nut mix, oatmeal

 

WHAT IS COST OF DONATING A STOCKING?

The approximate target value of a fully sponsored stocking is $60-$75.  

 

CAN I WRAP ITEMS IN MY STOCKING?

We ask that all items are unwrapped for safety reasons.  If you would like items in your stocking wrapped, please include the paper and tape so that we may wrap items following check-in.

 

CAN I INCLUDE USED ITEMS?

No, new items only please.

 

CAN A GROUP SPONSOR STOCKINGS?

Sponsoring stockings can be a great team building activity. Consider encouraging your workplace, social circle, classroom, sports team, school club or other group to team up and sponsor one or more stockings.  Make it fun, go shopping together or select wish lists that closely relate to children in your life.

 

HOW CAN I LEARN MORE ABOUT THE PROGRAMS AND SCHOOLS SPUR WORKS WITH THROUGH THE DRIVE?

Visit our Recipient Partners page.  You will be able to read a brief description about each of the wonderful programs and schools, as well as link to their websites for further reading. 

 

TAX RECEIPT

Should you desire a tax-deductible receipt, one can be provided.  Simply check a box at signup or send us a message via email.