Holiday Wish Drive & Back-to-School Drive


Two Major Annual Drives

With the invaluable financial support of our donors and sponsors, the hands-on involvement of our volunteers, drive leaders, and in partnership with wonderful nonprofit agencies and school partners, the Family Giving Tree stages two major drives each year to service those in need in our Bay Area communities.

2017 HWD BTS header

The Back-to-School Drive –
Building a path out of poverty through learning

At retail, a backpack with STEAM supplies can range from $65 (Elementary) to $100 (High School). Unfortunately, children living in poverty start their school year at a great disadvantage. Without crucial school supplies, these students cannot fully participate in classroom activities or complete their homework.

The Family Giving Tree’s annual Back-to-School Drive was launched in 1995 with the goal of closing the educational gap for in-need K-12 students. Each summer, nearly 500 corporate and community Drive Leaders collect new backpacks full of essential, grade-appropriate school supplies for Bay Area students. In 2019, with the help of the community, Family Giving Tree was able to provide over 41,000 backpacks to 292 partner schools and agencies.

The Holiday Wish Drive – 
Bringing joy during the holidays by giving

Since 1990, the Family Giving Tree has provided gifts for over one million San Francisco Bay Area children, families, and seniors from low-income households. We believe that everyone should experience the joy of the holidays through the receipt of a gift and more than half of these gifts have fulfilled exact holiday gift wishes. In 2019, more than 82,000 gifts – and smiles – were delivered through 400+ agencies.

To fulfill the exact holiday gift wish of a child, adult or senior in need may not seem like much, but for someone who may not otherwise receive a gift, it’s everything. That single, specially chosen gift lets them know that someone in the community is thinking of them.

Reaching so many

How have we been able to reach so many?  We partner with more than 600 schools, service agencies, and nonprofits, such as homeless shelters, community centers, rehabilitation houses, and various charitable organizations.

Over a period of four months every year, each school and nonprofit reaches out to its students and clients to collect holiday wishes. They give Family Giving Tree the names and exact wishes and we print them on wish cards for our Drive Leaders. Drive Leaders, in turn, share these wish cards with their co-workers, peers, or group members who select one – or more – and take pleasure in shopping and fulfilling the wish.  Drive Leaders then collect these gifts and drop them at our warehouse where they are sorted and organized for pick-up by agencies and schools. See our Journey Of A Wish for a visual representation of this process.