Hands on the Holidays

Hands On Greenville has conducted Hands on the Holidays, a Christmas gift drive for foster children in the community, for the past eight years.

Hands On Greenville works closely with the Department of Social Service of Greenville County to collect "wish lists" from each child in the fall. The children ask for clothing items, electronic items, school supplies and one special gift.

Hands On Greenville then distributes the wish lists to sponsors or "Wish Granters" including individuals, companies, church groups, book clubs or other civic groups. In previous years, some sponsor companies have granted wishes for 90 kids.

"We pass out wish lists from mid-October all the way until the beginning of December when the program ends, because children continue to go into foster care every day," said Rebecca Ellefson, Director of Volunteers and Programs at Hands On Greenville.

The sponsors are asked to spend approximately $150 per child and bring unwrapped gifts to the Hands On Greenville office, where they are passed to case workers who give them to the foster family to wrap or put under the tree from Santa.

So far in 2009, Hands On Greenville has a record breaking 475 children to serve and just more than 70 Wish Granters.

The program enables Wish Granters to meet a need for children and increase their happiness while also alleviating foster parents of a financial burden.

"It is a different way to give back to the community for Christmas and really helps to provide the Christmas spirit for our Wish Granters," Ellefson said.

For more information about Hands on the Holidays, visit www.handsongreenville.org/AboutUs/index.php/handsonholidays.html