It's 2013 Gift Drive Time! November 13, 2013 9:02 AM   Subscribe

Time for the 5th Annual Mefi Holiday Gift Drive for Children! Come right in and see how you can help out.

First up, a note on leadership: houseofdanie has graciously taken over organizing duties for the drive this year. I so appreciate her leadership! Please direct any questions to her. She received this year's letters and put together the rest of this post.


This year’s 45 recipients range in age from 4 months to 17 years old. Two are young mothers who are still in school, both of whom asked for gift cards to purchase things for their children. Many of the notes come from a preschool reading program, so the wish list is heavy on books.

I've gone through the requests and populated an Amazon wish list with both items that were specifically requested and choices I made based on what the letters contained. Many of the teens simply asked for gift cards, in general or for a particular store. If anyone would like to do more creative shopping, let me know via MeMail, and I'll send along the exact text of a child's note.

There are also a couple of entries for $10 and $20 gift cards, to fill in for unpurchased items or things that may be out of stock at shopping time. If there's extra, it'll go toward gift wrap, and anything left after that will be donated directly to the program.

Amazon wish list items will be shipped to my house (I have prepped my lovely UPS delivery man and slightly less lovely mail carrier with a Dunkin' Donuts gift card each in preparation for the haul). I'd like to get all the packages in by November 30. There'll be a gift-wrapping meet-up at a date and location TBA, and then I'll transport the packages to the host organization by December 9.

Previously: 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012
posted by ThePinkSuperhero to MetaFilter-Related at 9:02 AM (118 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

Thanks for organizing this again, TPS. For some reason, once I go to check out, Amazon is not giving me the option of shipping to the address that's been set up for the Wishlist (i.e., it gives me the options to ship to my saved addresses or to enter a new address, but it doesn't give the option to ship to the address associated with the Wishlist, the way it has when I have bought from Wishlists in the past). I don't know if this is just a problem on my end (possibly including pre-caffeinated idiocy), or if there's something that needs to be adjusted on your end with Amazon.
posted by scody at 9:12 AM on November 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'll check it out, Scody. Thank you!
posted by houseofdanie at 9:14 AM on November 13, 2013

AHA. I hadn't realized that new lists don't default to shipping info for previous lists. All fixed!
posted by houseofdanie at 9:16 AM on November 13, 2013

Works now.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:25 AM on November 13, 2013

Oh, gosh, guys! Watching the first few items move from "wants" to "has" is choking me up. I need to get a grip.
posted by houseofdanie at 9:27 AM on November 13, 2013 [3 favorites]

Was Pokemon Black a specific request? I ask because Pokemon X/Y just came out very recently.
posted by griphus at 9:36 AM on November 13, 2013

*checks Amazon for grips*
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:36 AM on November 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

Never mind, stupid question, X/Y is only out for 3DS and whoever requested Black probably has a DS.
posted by griphus at 9:38 AM on November 13, 2013

Mahmood for the win.
posted by Rock Steady at 9:41 AM on November 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

posted by scody at 9:46 AM on November 13, 2013

The Pokemon note requested "Pokemon White or Black 2." And Rock Steady, I'll send you a message, if you have MeMail enabled, about that one in particular. Really neat.
posted by houseofdanie at 9:49 AM on November 13, 2013

And I forgot to thank you, too, houseofdanie. So: thanks! This is a great thing.
posted by scody at 9:52 AM on November 13, 2013

what means BHCC and BHCT followed by three numbers? I would guess those are schools but google doesn't give me anything.
posted by mullacc at 9:54 AM on November 13, 2013

Oh, yes, this is an absolutely great thing that y'all are doing!

Not sure if this helps, but it looks like Amazon Prime is now doing Sunday deliveries in NYC. Based on the email I skimmed, if you order something on a Friday with 2-day shipping, it should arrive on Sunday. Not sure if you have a doorman and/or Sundays available but heads up.
posted by griphus at 9:54 AM on November 13, 2013

So we should or should not have items gift-wrapped?
posted by Lyn Never at 9:55 AM on November 13, 2013

Those are tracking numbers on the requests. When we wrap the gifts, we'll label them with the names and numbers so everything gets to the right place and person. I stuck them on the items in the list to keep myself better organized.
posted by houseofdanie at 9:56 AM on November 13, 2013

Lyn, if you'd like to have it wrapped, feel free! But we'll be having a gift-wrapping party, so you don't need to go to the expense.
posted by houseofdanie at 9:56 AM on November 13, 2013

I saw a bit about that a few days ago, griphus! I wonder if that's for all the boroughs; I'm in the Bronx. Also, I am my own doorman.
posted by houseofdanie at 9:59 AM on November 13, 2013

Be aware that Amazon "gift wrapping" sometimes amounts to sticking the thing indifferently in a cloth bag. IMO not worth it.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 10:00 AM on November 13, 2013 [4 favorites]

Thanks for doing all the wrangling, Danie! Two books on their way, and I have no idea why it's so dusty in here right now.
posted by Lyn Never at 10:00 AM on November 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

I would second that the Amazon "gift-wrapping" is often a waste of cash. Send it unwrapped and we'll wrap it at the party!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:11 AM on November 13, 2013

That was a fun shopping expedition.
posted by JanetLand at 10:14 AM on November 13, 2013

I wish I could come to the partyyyyyyyyyyyy but I am in Wisconsin. Le sigh. But I am SO happy that we can do this again.
posted by Madamina at 10:16 AM on November 13, 2013


Oh, man! I wanted to buy them the Unyielding Weight of Years Gone By!

*goes back to wishlist
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:19 AM on November 13, 2013 [9 favorites]

books for kids! MUST PARTICIPATE.
posted by rmd1023 at 10:32 AM on November 13, 2013

Wow! There is a little subway nerd on the list! I love it when there is someone who reminds me of Little Homeboy, circa Decades Ago that I can get stuff for. Keep being nerdy, little dude -- I'm now a professional subway nerd!
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 10:35 AM on November 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

I remember when subways were still an underground fad.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:42 AM on November 13, 2013 [5 favorites]

Done. I love this kind of effort. Thank you, TPS and houseofdanie, for organizing it!
posted by Songdog at 10:45 AM on November 13, 2013

Someone needs to hold me, for I am thiiiis close to weeping. TPS posted less than two hours ago and about 20% of the list's items have been spoken for. MeFi, you make me so happy.
posted by houseofdanie at 10:49 AM on November 13, 2013

I sent the sensory balls, and tried on the Rosie Revere, Engineer. The book is out of stock right now. If it can't get there on time, will memail for an address and try with another bookseller. If that's OK with you?
posted by annsunny at 10:49 AM on November 13, 2013

Definitely okay with me! Amazon is a wonder, but things fly in and out of stock like crazy. Thank you!
posted by houseofdanie at 10:50 AM on November 13, 2013

I don't know if there are more needs to be filled through this group, but I remember coming in late (like, a day after the list went up) last year and seeing that those goddamn generous MeFites had already taken care of the whole list. Looks like we're on track to do that again no thanks to my little spree.

Is there a way to add another swath of stuff later on?

(Thanks again to Danie for doing this -- I don't in any way mean to make this more complicated for you, and am just really happy to have this opportunity.)
posted by Madamina at 11:00 AM on November 13, 2013 [4 favorites]

houseofdanie: TPS posted less than two hours ago and about 20% of the list's items have been spoken for. MeFi, you make me so happy.

We usually clear it out in less than 24 hours, if I remember correctly. Usually we end up with MeFites who miss the boat because they don't check MeTa at least one a day. Blasphemers!
posted by Rock Steady at 11:00 AM on November 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

houseofdanie and/or TPS - Would either of you be willing to post a to-do list of how you organized this? I'm not sure it would be appropriate to return to the MetaFilter well right now, but the logistics of getting the requests, organizing the wrapping party, setting up the list -- all that seems like a process that could be productively applied elsewhere.

Necessary lead times, other notes, etc. could be really helpful, too.

If this is already written up somewhere, I'd love to hear about that, too.

(I'm not volunteering [at the moment] to organize something like this, but a list could help make clear the time investment needed, too.)
posted by amtho at 11:28 AM on November 13, 2013

Oh yay for Helio and his love of castles! One book coming up.
posted by Lemmy Caution at 11:30 AM on November 13, 2013

Thanks for organizing this. Couldn't do much, but it's more than nothing.
posted by deezil at 11:31 AM on November 13, 2013

I loaded up my cart with a buncha stuff. They're on their way! I've got prime, so it's probably going to be there in the next two days.

One of the things, a book called From Egg To Robin (Science Emergent Readers) wasn't available for prime, though. It's coming from a 3rd party seller, and says it will probably be delivered between 4-14 days from now. I hope it makes it in time!
posted by royalsong at 11:32 AM on November 13, 2013

Kicking in what I can right now; hope to be able to add more later.
posted by RainyJay at 11:41 AM on November 13, 2013

NOOO someone beat me to the Maple Farm books! My sister and I were discussing them not too long ago
posted by brilliantine at 11:43 AM on November 13, 2013

...not right now, of course. You're super busy right now. Just eventually, maybe?

Also, I see you're working with a NYC-based charity, so maybe none of that applies. One hooks up with a preexisting charity, then one makes the list and sends a notice to a group. Not that complicated, I guess.
posted by amtho at 11:48 AM on November 13, 2013

aawwww I had to buy MLP and Fancy Nancy stuff because they are my kid's two biggest obsessions right now.
posted by gaspode at 12:13 PM on November 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

I just clicked and bought some of the things, wish I could have clicked all the things.
posted by eyeballkid at 12:24 PM on November 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

Correct, amtho! The letters come from the New York Cares Winter Wishes program. You pretty much laid out how it all goes- sign up for letters, get letter, create wishlist, get gifts, do party, arrange transport to location, the end. It's not a lot of work; more like a little bit of work spread out over a few months (remembering to sign up for letters, organizing wish list, Memailing with folks, tracking what comes in when, finding someone with a van in NYC, etc). I'd wager the hardest part of a gift drive in general is getting people to participate, and this community surely doesn't have a problem with that! Everyone here makes it way too easy!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:41 PM on November 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

One gift card headed your way...
posted by ramix at 1:11 PM on November 13, 2013

Madamina: I'm not sure if it's possible to add more recipients to the group for this year, but I'll call the organization tomorrow to find out if they have any undistributed requests.

amtho: TPS summed it up! Actually, my part of this was even easier, because she emailed me the morning team sign-ups opened up! When I've organized gift drives in the past, like in workplaces, following up with people who had to physically bring an item was the most challenging part. Doing things on MeFi, with wish lists and one central place for shipping, greatly simplifies some matters. Well, we'll see how shipping goes, but tracking these days is generally easy.
posted by houseofdanie at 2:04 PM on November 13, 2013

Yay! Still things to get, so I got things! Thank you for organizing this!!
posted by xingcat at 2:24 PM on November 13, 2013

Just bought a shit ton of batteries, aw yiss
posted by troika at 3:10 PM on November 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

This is why we can have nice things.
posted by OHenryPacey at 3:19 PM on November 13, 2013 [5 favorites]

I got a ball ramp!
posted by box at 3:21 PM on November 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

It felt fantastic to buy a hotwheels track for a kid there. I hope she has the cars for it. I used to love setting them up on my grandma's stairs and racing them down to spectacular crashes. Then grandma would holler at me and I'd act contrite until she was out of earshot and I could crash them again. I hope Danielle enjoys it.
posted by klangklangston at 3:23 PM on November 13, 2013 [3 favorites]

How does it work if I want to buy a Modell's gift card from their site? Where do I have it sent?
posted by jabes at 3:45 PM on November 13, 2013

Yay! I manged to get in on a gift card, at least. Thanks for making this happen, everyone!
posted by bethnull at 5:29 PM on November 13, 2013

This is a wonderful idea, and I'm sad I haven't noticed it in previous years! Gift card headed your way!
posted by JannaK at 5:33 PM on November 13, 2013

posted by bfranklin at 5:45 PM on November 13, 2013

I just edited my profile to include my address, for any non-Amazon shipments. I'm not sure how things not purchased there get removed from the wish list. Hrm.
posted by houseofdanie at 6:47 PM on November 13, 2013

Can't the buyer claim the item on the wish list? That's how I recall it working in previous years.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:08 PM on November 13, 2013

Yeah, if you click "Buying this gift elsewhere?", you can claim something you're buying somewhere else.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:26 PM on November 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

posted by houseofdanie at 7:44 PM on November 13, 2013

Thanks, Danie and TPS! One Modell's gift card on its way.
posted by jabes at 8:49 PM on November 13, 2013

I am dumb but I seem to only see one person's wish list and I kind of want to browse them. What am I doing wrong ?
posted by Miko at 6:22 AM on November 14, 2013

Oh wait maybe that's all there is left.
posted by Miko at 6:27 AM on November 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

Done! Thanks so much for organizing this, you guys are amazing.
posted by futureisunwritten at 6:34 AM on November 14, 2013

I was also confused that I could only see like 11 items, but the list somehow said I was missing four pages. But I think it was just that ya'll have cleaned the list out!
posted by gemmy at 9:55 AM on November 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

At the top of the page, you can change the filter to show 'purchased items' so you can see those items.

It looks like there are still a number of $40 gift cards. If that is too spendy for folks, you could always list more $10 and $20 options and combine those in a single gift for someone.
posted by barnone at 10:05 AM on November 14, 2013

Happy to get in on this effort this year - y'all have been way too fast for me in the past card on the way. Thanks for doing this houseofdanie and TPS - your thoughtfulness and efforts are appreciated!
posted by madamjujujive at 10:30 AM on November 14, 2013

Love this event. Thanks ever so to the organizers for giving us the warm fuzzy feeling every year.
posted by bearwife at 12:29 PM on November 14, 2013

Holy cow, you guys have attacked this list, there's almost nothing left!

Thanks so much for organizing this, one amazon gift card headed your way!
posted by inertia at 12:53 PM on November 14, 2013

Oh, woe, pretty much all the fun stuff is gone! That's OK, fistful of Amazon gift cards is on the way!
posted by Lulu's Pink Converse at 2:59 PM on November 14, 2013

Sorry for my absence today! I had some unexpected business.

Yes, definitely, if a $40 gift card is too high, feel free to contribute with a $10 or $20 one. I'll combine them for full gifts. I just set the request number for each pretty high.

I left a message with the organization this afternoon to find out if there are more letters we could adopt. I'll report back.

The first few items have already arrived! We have two books, Part-Time Princess and Un Gato y Un Perro! We also have several gift cards, one of which arrived in a large box with that poofy plastic protective stuff. Good grief.

For some reason, the gift cards don't come with any slip or invoice at all, so I have no way to know whose are here. I'll just keep count of each amount, and if we're short any, I'll post a call for gift card folks to track their orders.

Such joy! THANK YOU.
posted by houseofdanie at 4:58 PM on November 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

Wow! That cleared out SO fast!! I am bummed that I only got to send a gift card. :-(
posted by PorcineWithMe at 6:20 PM on November 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

I love that MetaFilter is reluctant to buy those Disney Princess dolls.
posted by donajo at 7:56 PM on November 14, 2013 [7 favorites]

Yay! Thanks, TPS and houseofdanie, for doing this! A gift card is on its way.
posted by wiskunde at 6:43 AM on November 15, 2013

I love that MetaFilter is reluctant to buy those Disney Princess dolls.

Had the same thought.
posted by Miko at 10:00 AM on November 15, 2013

I suspect that is because you have to go directly through the Disney store, which by all appearances is an enormous pain in the ass.
posted by griphus at 10:35 AM on November 15, 2013

Oh, and it doesn't pre-populate the shipping address. Poor kid.

houseofdanie I know you're getting a ton of memails right now probably but heads up, I just need your shipping address.
posted by griphus at 10:41 AM on November 15, 2013

Any chance we could substitute a similar gift for the Disney princess sets? For example, just really cool toys related to the more agent-y princesses (Mulan, Tiana, Pocahontas, Rapunzel)?
posted by amtho at 10:53 AM on November 15, 2013

Why not just get the kids the toy they have requested rather than the one that you think they should want instead.
posted by elizardbits at 11:00 AM on November 15, 2013 [11 favorites]

What has two thumbs, a host of conflicting emotions, and just bought the hell out of those princess figurine sets for little Ms. Yasmine?


(sorry for sniping you, griph!)
posted by divined by radio at 11:00 AM on November 15, 2013 [12 favorites]

Cool by me; I just didn't want to think there was gonna be exactly one kid who did not get what she asked for because Disney wants All The Money.
posted by griphus at 11:04 AM on November 15, 2013 [3 favorites]

I suspect that is because you have to go directly through the Disney store

That is the most charitable possible interpretation, and I can tell you I didn't even get that far. My own Mom got me Barbies despite her justifiable opposition, and I turned out OK, and generally kids and holiday wishes are probably not the time for political statements, but I couldn't quite pull the trigger myself. I'm glad they're forthcoming, though.

Additional gifts are pretty typical, from what I remember of the wrapping parties :)

She will love my gilt-bound set of Simone de Bouvior essays!

j/k. I still need to buy some stuff.
posted by Miko at 11:05 AM on November 15, 2013 [2 favorites]

Maybe she wants them in order to toyhack them into powerful cybernetic superheroines.
posted by Miko at 11:07 AM on November 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

Do Barbies/Princesses/etc. have that same thing as certain action figures (the Ninja Turtles ones spring to mind) where you can swap limbs on them easily?
posted by griphus at 11:12 AM on November 15, 2013

My sister loves to tell the tale that I used to play with her Barbies when I was a young boy. What she conveniently leaves out of this story is that I played with Barbie because you could bend her into the general shape of a gun, which was a toy I wasn't allowed to own at the time. So I made my own. Many was the time I over-hacked Barbie such that her legs popped off of the ball joint.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:36 AM on November 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

Do Barbies/Princesses/etc. have that same thing as certain action figures (the Ninja Turtles ones spring to mind) where you can swap limbs on them easily?

From my experience, no. But you can cut their hair off into stylish pixie cuts and give them tattoos with nailpolish.

Or was that just me?
posted by inertia at 11:42 AM on November 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

So as a little boy growing up in the Soviet Union, all the toys I had were ... shitty. Like, for a kid that didn't know any better, toys were toys. But then my grandmother got me some Legos from a trip to Finland, and they got some American toys in daycare and it was all of a sudden like oh... all my toys are shitty.

Soviet toys were all designed in 1930 by bureaucrats with a vague and purely academic conception of 'fun' and assembled in factories that otherwise built farm equipment or maybe office supplies. Admittedly, I'm exaggerating but you know the stuff that they generally use to signal "toys" on signs? Like a ball with a star on it, or stuffed animal or a toy trumpet or a little green soldier? That was the extent of the actual toys available. I mean that above is literally a list of the only toys I remember owning there and I fucking loved toys.

So, someone at some point came back to Russia with a Toys R Us catalog, full of full-color photos of American toys. And holy shit I carried that thing around like my life depended on it. At that point I knew we were moving to America eventually and I would read it all the time, just imagining all the neat stuff I would be getting. And more than anything else (save for more Legos) what I wanted a shitload of Barbie dolls. They were so lifelike! All those cool accessories! Fucking houses with televisions and phones and stuff! I had never seen anything so lovingly detailed and conceived and fun looking.

I never did get any Barbies, but I did end up with shitloads of toys; we were poor, but the action figures I liked weren't terribly expensive (I never had the big robots and vehicles playsets some of my friends did, just the little dudes) and living in a Chinese neighborhood meant a veritable cornucopia of cheap knockoffs. And I loved them, all of them, but goddamn if I had the chance to go back in time and surprise five-year-old me with a Barbie doll, I'd do it in a fucking second.
posted by griphus at 12:10 PM on November 15, 2013 [87 favorites]

Now that is the kind of story that Quonsmas is all about. May you have all the Barbies, griphus!

I will say that even as an American kid growing up in America, I had a very similar passionate attachment to the toy catalogues that came out at Christmas. We were never deprived of a reasonable amount of toys but there was something just incredible about this endless plethora of truly fabulous things laid out on page after page. Things you could not have conceived of, let alone know you wanted. Like that crazy car with an actual motor! Or my brother's favorite, Race Car Bed!
posted by Miko at 12:15 PM on November 15, 2013 [2 favorites]

Barbie can be pretty awesome. My 5-year-old spent many hours last year "mummifying" ours. She found objects around the house to use for canopic jars, wrapped the doll in toilet paper, & made a sarcophagus out of a shoebox.
posted by belladonna at 9:24 AM on November 16, 2013 [6 favorites]

Seeing some friends recently, I discovered that those newsprint toy catalogs are still a thing.

We have two friends, with little daughters who are pals: A, age 7, and B, age 5. Girl A is in a family where she gets Barbies and other girly toys. Girl B is in a family that would like to avoid those things..... but B gets A's hand-me-downs, so she has become a huge girly-things fan, much to her mom's chagrin.

The other night we were all together, and A gasps and holds up a giant envelope from the pile of family mail - "Mom, it came! it came!"... and opens it - "My Toys 'R' Us Christmas Gift Book!"

Time stops as she holds it up like a shining trophy. Younger girl B's eyes widen, her mouth drops open, seeing new vistas of unknown pink wonder opening up... and her mom, already in mid-air, leaping from the couch, arm outstretched, face a mask of horror...
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 11:11 AM on November 16, 2013 [3 favorites]

Rosie Revere, Engineer shipped the next day, should get there by the 25th, at the latest.
posted by annsunny at 11:14 AM on November 16, 2013

Oo, on Flickr, a collection of Christmas toy catalogs from the 1940s-90s.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 11:20 AM on November 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

I love all of you and where this thread has landed. My mailing address is in my profile and will be there for the next couple of weeks, for anyone who'd like to send anything that's not on the list. Super Duper Russian Barbie, etc.

I was crazy busy yesterday (I'm sorry for being slow on the MeMail!), but did get in touch with someone from the organization, finally. If we'd like, I can pick up another, smaller batch of letters on Monday or Tuesday. I'm not sure if I should do that, since this'll be a week old by then, and those requests will likely include some wishes for less-fun-to-purchase things like... more gift cards. Thoughts on this? I'd be happy to make the trip, if folks are in favor.

As far as the Disney princesses go, those were going to be purchased with extra gift card funds, even if they weren't grabbed directly from the wish list. I did want to list sets that included all of the princesses -- the deep-toned and more adventurous ones in addition to the older ones. I chose the sets from the Disney store instead of the ones right on Amazon, because even with shipping included, they were far less expensive, for exactly the same sets.

My delivery people have seriously earned their pay this week. In the last two days, I have received about 60 packages. Opening them has made me misty. Recycling day is going to be so fun!
posted by houseofdanie at 12:14 PM on November 16, 2013 [3 favorites]

If youre willing, I would give - I was gonna just buy another gift card to go with this list, but if you'd like to grab a few more letters I am at least one person that'll still get a gift.
posted by Miko at 12:50 PM on November 16, 2013

Seconding Miko; I'd definitely do a gift on the chance of additional letters.
posted by youarenothere at 5:03 PM on November 16, 2013

I'd do a gift from additional letters, too.
posted by nightwood at 5:26 PM on November 16, 2013

Oo, on Flickr, a collection of Christmas toy catalogs from the 1940s-90s.

posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:54 PM on November 16, 2013 [2 favorites]

Gift-wrapping meet-up is up for discussion here!
posted by houseofdanie at 11:22 AM on November 17, 2013

I'm in.

Out of curiosity, how were the recipients selected? This is a neat thing.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 2:44 PM on November 17, 2013

If you're in Chicago and you're looking for a fantastic program to get in on, I recommend SantaVP (Santa for the Very Poor), who give each family a ton of food for the holidays, gift certificates for more, a mess of terrific toys, and warm clothes for everybody. They're unique in that their volunteers cover all overhead and operating costs, with 100% of all donations going to people in need.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 3:07 PM on November 17, 2013 [2 favorites]

Organizations like churches, shelters, mentoring, and early learning programs partner with New York Cares, who then match and distribute the letters to teams and individuals who'd like to help make winter wishes come true. Full info on the Winter Wishes program is here.
posted by houseofdanie at 8:19 AM on November 18, 2013

I am kind of sad I was so busy I didn't see this until now. If there's more letters available I'd love to get a kid something.
posted by corb at 3:30 PM on November 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

If you are in the SF Bay Area, there is the Family Giving Tree for holiday gift donations.
posted by JDC8 at 11:24 AM on November 19, 2013

Yeah at this point I will just give to Lunch Break in my hometown. Thanks for arranging this, you guys. Apparently MeFi has even more capacity than this, good to know for future efforts !
posted by Miko at 11:49 AM on November 19, 2013

I was able to pick up a smaller bundle of letters this afternoon for those who are still interested in taking part in the gift drive. I'll do my best to get the Amazon list updated by tomorrow afternoon; I'll post here when it's all done.
posted by houseofdanie at 9:26 PM on November 19, 2013

I've already sent a gift and I'm over my Christmas budget anyway and it's not even Thanksgiving, so someone please go buy that giant box of dinosaurs already!
posted by donajo at 7:48 AM on November 20, 2013

Oh, wow. People are buying things as I add them. I'm really, really overwhelmed. I'll post again when I'm all done (just a few more notes to do), but I thought I'd shout out to folks that the new additions are going up and going away. Wow.
posted by houseofdanie at 9:09 AM on November 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

This Is Just To Say

I have bought some
of the presents
that were in
the wishlist

and which
you were probably
for a big reveal

Forgive me
they were so lovely
and I was worried
there would be none left
posted by corb at 10:26 AM on November 20, 2013 [4 favorites]

Nooo, it's amazing! The generosity and eagerness to participate is astonishing and just so heartwarming.

Okay, DONE! Again, I'm sorry for being a little bit slow this week. It's a busy week.

This time around, everyone is four years old! A couple of requests for gift cards, but we have a bunch of them from the last round. This time, it's mostly games, toys, and books.

I'm going to put my Google Voice number in my profile in a moment (my address is already there), so if anyone needs something answered quickly, feel free to text me. I'm going to be in and out for the rest of the day and most of tomorrow. I'll try to check in, but I'll definitely keep my phone close at hand for anyone who needs anything. No pranks! :P
posted by houseofdanie at 10:43 AM on November 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

So many crayons and cute toys!
posted by quercus23 at 1:13 AM on November 21, 2013

Maybe I'll carefully play with all the toys and read all the little books til wrapping day. I'm gentler now than when I was four!
posted by houseofdanie at 8:56 AM on November 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

There is still stuff on the list, but my browser is being assy (does anyone else have issues with firefox and amazon?)
posted by SuzySmith at 8:54 PM on November 22, 2013

What's the deadline? Just getting it delivered by the wrapping party? There's still fun stuff on the list, but I'm holding off a bit to give others a chance.
posted by nightwood at 2:53 PM on November 23, 2013

I haven't had problems with Amazon and wish lists this week with either Chrome or Firefox.

I'm going to close out the list this Thursday, the 28th. After that, I'll get the remaining items with gift cards or a couple of outside donations. That should give us time to get things sorted and labeled for the wrapping party, I think.
posted by houseofdanie at 9:02 AM on November 24, 2013

Just ordered the Bug Out game.
posted by Nolechick11 at 5:01 PM on November 25, 2013

Just ordered some games and puzzles - hope the kids enjoy them!
posted by adrianhon at 9:55 AM on November 26, 2013

Happy Black Friday! I've closed the gift list and I'm working on getting the remaining items. When all is said and done and wrapped and delivered, I'll post a recap of the bountiful generosity. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
posted by houseofdanie at 6:54 AM on November 29, 2013

Aw. I'm too late then. :(
posted by koucha at 3:51 PM on November 29, 2013

Koucha (and anyone else who was a touch late), I'm not 100% done filling everything up. The Black Friday/Cyber Monday/Don't Leave Your Computer Weekend sales have me a little obsessed with getting the best bang for MeFi's bucks. MeMail me with your approximate budget and I can send you a couple of things you can choose from.
posted by houseofdanie at 3:50 PM on December 1, 2013

I have an update!

The ever-gracious snickerdoodle (pricelessly assisted by husband-of-snickerdoodle) has delivered Batch 1 of the gifts.

Batch 2, from the second set of letters, will be delivered on Thursday. Now here's the even cooler part:

The school this second batch is going to wasn't able to get all their kids in need into the Winter Wishes program this year. There were pretty sharp caps on the program, since this year's need was so great. One of the directors of New York Cares' program put me in touch with a teacher at this school, who is working her butt off to find gifts for all of them. Because some people sent extra things here and there and because people were not only incredibly generous with gifts but with gift cards, we were able to get gifts for 20 more kids, and we have a few cards left over for when that school reaches crunch time.

Sooo... that's 45 recipients from the original batch, 15 from when we went back for seconds, and 20 more thanks to online-shopping, everything's-on-sale, MeFi-gave-so-much, whirlwind week.

Amazingly well done, MetaFilter. Thank you.
posted by houseofdanie at 1:16 PM on December 9, 2013 [7 favorites]

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