I’ve granted wishes for a specific organization for years, but this year they don’t seem to be participating in Winter Wishes, why is that?
The focus of Winter Wishes this year is providing gifts to children and teenagers from low-income families. To increase our impact while doing this we have focused our efforts on community partners from family shelters, public housing facilities, and public schools with high economic need. This change has meant a change in community partners who participate in Winter Wishes.
How do I sign up to grant a wish?
Sign up as an individual or recruit a team of friends, family, colleagues, or neighbors to grant Winter Wishes as a group. You can register in mid-October.
I tried to find the organization connected to my letter/wish and it didn't have a website. Should I be concerned?
Not at all! All organizations participating in Winter Wishes are current New York Cares Community Partners. Our partners are incredibly varied, and not all of them have the time or resources to build a website or manage social media channels. This means you may not be able to find out much information about them online. If you’d like more information about the organization you were matched with, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I signed up to grant a wish online. How soon can I start shopping?
Once you are matched with a letter, you will be able to see the most important information from your letter (name, age, gender, and gift request) on your New York Cares account under “Upcoming Projects.” This makes it easy for you to get a jump on your shopping while waiting for the physical letter to arrive in the mail.
Once I get the letter, what happens if I have questions about the request?
Each letter comes labeled with the name and tracking number of the individual who wrote it and the name, number and email address of a contact person at the Community Partner with which they are affiliated. You can reach out to this person with any questions you may have about the gift request.
I don’t keep up with the latest trends in toys and games. How will I know what to buy?
You will receive a letter that contains a specific gift request. Most requests are for gifts priced $40 or less, not including shipping. If the request is for a gift costing more than $40 or the gift is difficult to find, you can refer to our suggested gift lists for children and teens for ideas (coming soon!). There is no minimum amount you are required to spend, and you are only expected to purchase one gift. Because our clients come from diverse backgrounds, please refrain from purchasing gifts that are religious in nature.
OK, now I’ve got the gift. Where and when do I send it?
Your letter will include the recipient's first name, delivery address, delivery date (early December in most cases), and a tracking number.
Please send wrapped gifts directly to the delivery address, and write the recipient's tracking number and first name on the outside of the wrapping paper. Include the same shipping and tracking information when sending gifts purchased online. It is important that you indicate the tracking number on the outside of the gift so that it does not need to be unwrapped to identify the correct recipient.
Should I mail or hand deliver my gift(s)?
Gifts may be mailed or hand-delivered to the agency. New York Cares does not pay for shipping, so please keep this expense in mind. If you want to personally hand-deliver the gift(s), please confirm with the agency. You can confirm your agency’s open hours by contacting the agency’s main contact phone number or email address included with your letter. We encourage mailing to make the process easier for volunteers and our partners.
Is my gift tax-deductible? And can I get a receipt?
Yes and yes! The value of any gift you donate is tax deductible, and you can download a receipt here. Please note: New York Cares does not appraise gifts. Values are assigned by the donor.
I’m leading a team for Winter Wishes and I want to make sure everyone gets a gift, but it’s hard to keep track of everything! Have any advice?
Indeed we do! The easiest way to keep track of who on your team is responsible for which letters is to download and use our tracking form.
The letter I was matched with is requesting a gift over $40. Do I have to purchase a gift over $40?
New York Cares believes everyone deserves to experience the joy of receiving a great gift, especially over the holidays. Our program guidelines recommend that participants do not request gifts that cost more than $40 but sometimes this will be missed. It is up to you whether you would like to spend more than $40 but you are not obligated to. If the requested gift is more than you are able to spend, please purchase another gift based on the child’s age and interests.
The letter/wish I received asked for iPhone Accessories/PS4 games/an item which seems unfit for participants who are struggling financially. Is this an error or should I still fulfill this wish?
This is not an error. New York Cares believes everyone deserves to experience the joy of receiving a great gift! Children and teens will ask for a variety of things depending on their age, interests and what they see around them. This may include gifts related to technology. It is a misconception that if a family can afford a smartphone, computer, or gaming device, they are not in need of support. These devices may have been gifted previously or provided by a school. Access to these devices are also important for communication, safety, education, and employment opportunities