A Strong Foundation of Volunteers
Volunteers! The Giving Tree is one of the few local social action programs in the area that is 100% volunteer run. Over the years the program has grown from buying a few holiday presents for families in need in Dixie Manor to several specific programs including the Holiday Project, Quiet Giving, Clothing Closet and Back to School Backpack Drive impacting thousands of children, families and senior citizens throughout Palm Beach County, referred through their vast network of service providers from schools, agencies, caseworkers, community police officers, religious organizations and others serving local low-income and homeless populations.
Messages of Gratitude
The Giving Tree volunteers are especially touched when they receive messages of gratitude from recipients or case workers representing clients in need. Saying “yes” in a prompt manner has meant so much to so many. It is difficult enough for individuals to ask for assistance, and when they are forced to leave messages and don’t hear back in a timely fashion, it is often too late. The Giving Tree prides itself on responding to emergency situations when every moment counts.
A hardworking mom with a full-time job and an 8-month-old baby had an unexpected hardship resulting in a past due electric bill and ultimately the termination of her power from FPL. Having power restored was crucial for this family and the mom was most upset. The Giving Tree was apprised of this situation via a caseworker who had unsuccessfully tried to get assistance from multiple other local agencies that required long waits for approval of funds. The Giving Tree immediately responded to this emergency by paying the past due bill and the power was restored. The response from both the caseworker and the recipient was filled with deep gratitude. “I wish you could have heard her heartfelt words of appreciation when she called me to report her power was turned back on,” said the caseworker.
A grateful family sends a note after receiving needed living supplies for their apartment: “On behalf of myself and my family, we want to say thank you. With what we’ve received from your hearts, I can truly say this is the first time our little apartment feels like a home. Due to my job, my children were lacking many things, but now they’re overjoyed.”
A social worker’s client was enrolled to complete a Virtual GED program to attain a better job, but was unable to attend in-person classes due to his current work schedule. The Giving Tree stepped in to provide a laptop to help him accomplish his goal to better himself.
The Next Generation of Leaders:
Passing the Baton to Jennie Kreger & Lauren Gross
As The Giving Tree looks ahead to a bright future, two new leaders have stepped up to help take this trailblazing organization to the next level. Temple members Jennie Lewin Kreger and Lauren Gross are most excited to undertake their new roles, and look forward to involving more of our families from the Early Learning Center through Religious School age and beyond.
One of the many ways the co-chairs of The Giving Tree have additionally obtained new items to keep in stock for helping those in need besides through the generosity of individuals, is via reaching out to corporate donors. As an example of this, a letter went out to Simply Modern asking if they would be willing to donate 200 Summit Stainless Water bottles with a straw lid for a teen holiday gift bag. Other donors have supplied a $75 gift card for each teen and the hope was to include it with the water bottle. Because Simply Modern aligns with The Giving Tree’s mission they were a perfect fit and their generosity in participating was much appreciated.
Holiday Wish Lists
In Memory and Honor of Myra Singer z"l
After Myra’s passing in 2022, her vision of The Giving Tree lives on through all of the wonderful volunteers who are members of Temple Beth El. Her memory serves to inspire them to do more and help more people each and every day. However, none of this would be possible without the generosity of everyone who gives gifts or funds to each initiative.
In a recent letter to the Singer family to reach out and let them know how Myra’s light lives through all of them…and The Giving Tree that she created, Leslie Steinberg, speaking on behalf of herself and her Giving Tree co-chairs, Judy Gordon and Linda Berger, tells us “Branches have grown, but no matter the size of the project, the heart and core of the mission has always been the same. It is to spread kindness, dignity and hope to make a difference in one life, one need, one day at a time.”