Gifts For Kids History

The Gifts for Kids (GFK) program was started in 1990 by Pat McDougal with the support of members of the (then) South Norfolk County Council for Children who wanted to help area children during the holidays. That first year twenty-five children who were identified by the Department of Social Services received gifts, books and clothing during the winter holiday season. The program was so successful and the recipients so grateful that the second year the numbers of children grew to 125. Each subsequent year a new social service agency was added and the number of children served by Gifts for Kids increased. In 2005 the group incorporated as the non-profit Gifts for Kids, Inc.

In 2016 we provided holiday gifts to more than 1,000 children. The Cottage Street School in Sharon was the first school to organize classrooms to provide gifts and today more than one hundred classrooms in Sharon, Walpole, Foxboro, Dover, Wrentham and Medfield participate.

In 2016 Gifts for Kids served eight agencies including the Dedham Youth Commission, the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families, Father Bill’s/Mainspring House in Brockton, and Cole Harrington in Canton. The number of donors is now over 1000 people from Norfolk county and beyond. Elementary, Middle and High School students, girl scouts, boy scouts, churches, companies, and temple groups have organized to help with the effort. Gifts for Kids has also received grants and funding from Rodman Ford Ride for Kids, Walpole Bank, Dedham Savings, and the Meelia Family Foundation.

Gifts for Kids, Inc. has no paid staff. The organization is run entirely by volunteers, so all donations go to children and families.

The need that brought about the creation of the Gifts For Kids program increases every year. Fortunately, the spirit of caring, giving and sharing in the first few who responded to those needs has grown apace. Word of mouth continues to enlarge the donor base every year. Today, just as in 1990, the growth of Gifts For Kids is fueled by the goodness in all people and their willingness to serve others.

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