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December 3, 2018

Holiday donations sought for neighbors in need

Boulder County holiday giving programs offer opportunities to help low-income families and children

Boulder County, Colo. - Community holiday giving programs are seeking donations to help ensure as many children and families as possible can share in the joy of the season this year. The Boulder County Department of Housing and Human Services (BCDHHS) offers four options for anyone who wants to help.

“All year, Boulder County Housing and Human Services is focused on providing services and supports that every member of our community needs to live a healthy, thriving life,” said Frank Alexander, BCDHHS Director. “Our work is about the whole family—the ‘two-Generation’ approach to helping children and their parents at the same time—and we also apply this to our holiday giving programs.”

  • The Family to Family Program (F2F) Holiday Program is seeking donations to help parents and caregivers give gifts to their children and others in need. Now in its 44th year, F2F serves the most vulnerable financially struggling families and individuals in the Child Protection, Foster Care, Adolescent and Adult Protection (later life and disabled adults) and basic needs programs. Family to Family provides donated gift cards for parents and caregivers to shop for and choose the presents themselves. This approach reflects BCDHHS’ focus on empowering families and providing supports so they can make the decisions that affect their lives.

“The Family to Family Program is such a wonderful intersection of community and family generosity and it reflects the reality that everyone has their own unique traditions for the holidays,” said Boulder County Commissioner Cindy Domenico. “This is a very direct way for our community to come together and help empower people who are struggling so that they can create their own celebrations and feel the joy of giving a little more happiness to their children.”

In 2017, Family to Family served 420 families with gift cards averaging $50 per person. The program reached more people than ever before in 2017, thanks to both individual gifts and a new, large corporate donor.

“Boulder County’s holiday giving program is a wonderful, simple way of helping our neighbors and community members with the lowest income and greatest need,” said Deborah Ramirez, BCDHHS Volunteer Office Program Coordinator. “Every donation, large or small, is made in the spirit of bringing joy, hope, and help to individuals and families in our community."

For some parents and caregivers, presents purchased through Family to Family gift cards are the only ones they’re able to give their children for the holidays. The thank-you notes written by recipients demonstrate how much the support means to their families.

“I would like to say ‘thank you’ from my family to yours,” wrote a parent in 2017. “Being a single mother of four, in school full-time and working, I can’t explain how much this helps me and my children.”

“Thank you so much for donating these cards to my family,” said another recipient. “This will help make our Christmas special, knowing my children’s gifts came from people who care about other people.”

The Family to Family Program is supported by both individual and corporate donors, with gifts large and small. In 2017, 41 corporate donors made contributions, and many individual donors continued years - or even decades-long traditions of giving to the program.

Giving through the Family to Family Program is easy. Online donations can be made at Additional information is also available there or by contacting Debbie Ramirez at 303-441-1430 or

  • Other holiday gift-giving opportunities include Family Self-Sufficiency’s Holiday Gift Sponsor Program, which serves Boulder County families in the Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program who are working to gain education and skills to help them achieve higher-wage jobs and better living situations for their families. For the holidays, the highest-need FSS families submit a “wish list” from which sponsors can shop. Donors spend a minimum of $30 and a maximum of $100 for each person in the family. Sponsors purchase items on the list, or donors can give a cash donation or gift card (grocery stores, discount retail stores) to help with groceries and basic household needs. Cash donations can also help families throughout the year. In 2016, the FSS Holiday Gift Program helped 89 families in Boulder County, including 158 children and 105 parents, enjoy the holidays. To sponsor or make a donation for an FSS family, contact Katie Frye at 303-441-3923 or
  • The BCDHHS Senior Services Program seeks donations of gift cards to local grocery stores or discount retail stores to help offset the costs of medications and high medical expenses. The program provides supports for older adults who are tenants in permanently-affordable homes. Low- and fixed-income seniors often face the reality of having to choose between covering medical expenses and buying groceries or meeting other basic needs. Gifts given through this program go a long way toward helping them make ends meet during the holidays. To make a donation, contact Kris Durso at 303-519-7152 or
  • The Casa de la Esperanza Learning Center is seeking donations of school supplies, winter clothing, grocery gift cards, and presents for children in the program. Casa de la Esperanza in Longmont provides academic support and enrichment opportunities for 44 families of seasonal workers employed in the local dairies farms, and greenhouses. As the growing season comes to a close in the cold months just before the holidays, Casa de la Esperanza families face deeper economic difficulties and must endure winter on a very tight budget. To help, contact Vanessa Arritola at 303-678-6220 or

Casa de la Esperanza Christmas party

Casa de la Esperanza Christmas partyWrapped presents and gifts donated by generous families and individuals

Wrapped presents and gifts donated by generous families and individuals to the Family Self-Sufficiency Holiday Gift Program await delivery to grateful recipients