Questions Giving Tree ProgramVolunteer Sign Up
Q: How does the Giving Tree program work?
A: On the trees you will find white envelopes, purple tags, and green tags.
- WHITE ENVELOPES: Each envelope lists a dollar amount. We request that you purchase cards for the exact amount listed and then put the card(s) directly in the envelope. We ask that you only purchase cards from Jewel or Walmart. Envelopes will need to be turned in by Sunday, December 8 to the collection basket, Parish Center, or gift drop off in Morrissey Hall December 7/8.
- PURPLE TAGS: list gifts for individuals and families. Gifts need to be returned December 7-8, no later than 12:30 on December 8.
- GREEN TAGS: list some of our most needed items at the food pantry. Items can be dropped off in the food pantry bins in the Church Narthex.
Q: Why did we change the food program at Giving Tree?
1. Client Choice: This model gives clients the ability to choose the food that best meets their dietary needs and preferences. Previously, clients would get items they couldn’t always eat.
2. Transparency and Fairness: Previously we got a wide range of items back for families. This new model allows consistency in what we distribute to clients. Each family of the same size will receive the same size gift card for food.
3. December Food Pantry: In the past the food pantry was closed in December so we gave out food at the Giving Tree distribution. Now food pantry is open every Thursday night in December (except 12/26) so clients will be able to come and shop for the items they need that month.
Q: Why are gift cards limited to Jewel and Walmart?
A: We wanted to simplify the process for donors while make it best meet the needs of our clients. After reaching out to client families, Jewel and Walmart were the stores most clients shopped at. Both of these stores are also accessible to public transportation. In the past we occasionally got cards in to places clients were less familiar with or were out of the area (Ultra, Farm & Fleet, Meijer, etc.). We wanted to make sure families were getting something they could reasonably get to and use.
Q: What is Shop with Scrip?
A: For your convenience during the weekends of November 9-10 and 16-17 we will have the St. Cletus School Shop with Scrip available in the Narthex. This is a gift card purchasing program via the school that allows the school to get a percentage of the proceeds as a fundraiser. It does not cost you anything extra to participate. They accept cash and check. You do not need to purchase a gift card through Scrip.
Q: I have frozen meat I would like to donate for use in the Giving Tree. Is this something you could use?
A: Unfortunately, we aren’t able to accept donated meat items from individuals. The meat we distribute to clients is provided from the Greater Chicago Food Depository (GCFD) and the Holy Name Society. We purchase meat from GCFD at a reduced cost and are always open to receive donations towards this purchase.
Q: Can’t people purchase alcohol with gift cards?
A: Yes. We have always given out gift cards as part of our Christmas and Easter distributions, so this risk is not new. Inevitably someone may use their gift card to purchase something you may not agree with. However, this should not ruin the program for everyone. Many (most?) of donor’s households choose to have alcohol during the holidays, and at other times. We don’t always prioritize our spending in ways that others think we should. While the intention of the card is that it is used for groceries, the spirit of the program is that the client can best determine their own needs and freely choose what to purchase. Pope Francis provides some great encouragement and guidance on this very issue here.
Questions about the Giving Tree-Gift Tags
Q: I purchased several gifts for the person whose tag I took from the tree. What is the best way to prevent them from getting separated?
A: To prevent gifts for the same person getting separated, please mark each gift with the person’s name and family number. That will ensure that everything goes where it should!
Q: Where do I bring my gifts?
A: We will collect the gifts before/after Masses December 7-8 in Morrissey Hall. For your convenience, we have a drop off lane on Stone Ave. You can pull right up and a volunteer will come out to unload your car!
Q: My tag has multiple items listed on it. I always try to purchase exactly what the recipient requested, but I’m not sure I can do that this year. What would you suggest?
A: We have asked our recipients for a gift wish list of 3-5 items, allowing you some options from which to choose. It is certainly not necessary to buy ever item listed. Be mindful that often what you purchase is the only Christmas gifts they may receive, and all is greatly appreciated.
Q: Are there any stores you suggest we shop at, in case items need to be exchanged?
A: We generally find that it is safe to shop at Target, Kohl’s, Walmart or other well-known local stores. Please include a gift receipt when possible.
Q: I took a tag from the tree, but I’m not sure I’ll be in town on December 7-8, when they are due back. What should I do?
A: We will be accepting gifts before and after every Mass on the weekend of December 7-8. Please arrange for a friend of neighbor to drop off the gifts for you if possible. All gifts are sorted for distribution at 12:30 pm on December 8. WE NEED YOUR GIFT BY THEN. Please contact the Social Concerns office at 708.215.5418 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you need an earlier drop off.
Q: I lost my tag, what should I do?
A: Contact Kendall Grant at 708.215.5418 or email@example.com ASAP. Please let us know of any detail you can remember from the tag, however small it may seem (was the tag light or dark purple, any guess at the number or name, do you remember any ages or sizes, what items do you think they requested, etc.). Please still turn in the gift and we will hopefully be able to match it to the person who is missing a gift. In the future, we recommend taking a picture of your tag as soon as you take it off the tree in case it gets misplaced!
Enjoy shopping for those you have selected from the Giving Tree. Please remember them and their families in your prayers during this Blessed Season! And mark your calendars for December 7-8 and be sure to drop your gifts off then when you come to Mass.
Please remember, each tag represents a real person. When you take a tag from the tree, you are making a commitment to that person, and to returning your gift(s) on time. Thank you!