Government’s gift tree initiative grows

From left, DCFS and FRC staff Vanda Powery, Charmaine Miller, Dorline Welcome, Belinda Gordon, Lois Kellyman, Pat Hanlan and Beckie Seymour dress the CIG Gift-Giving Tree.

Christmas is just over the horizon and those at Government Administration Building are calling on the public for help to spread yuletide cheer through its new Cayman Islands Government Giving Tree appeal.

The appeal, which was launched on Monday, is an amalgamation of the gift-donation drives traditionally organised by the Department of Children and Family Services and the Family Resource Centre.

The initiative closes on 17 Dec.

The CIG Giving Tree, which is covered with donation tags, is located in the lobby at government headquarters. The tags each represent a child, teenager, young parent or senior chosen to be a recipient by DCFS or FRC.

Head of the Civil Service and Deputy Governor Franz Manderson said the idea of combining the longstanding gift drives came from Rosandi Weatherford at the Department of Health Regulatory Services, who raised it with Strategic Operations Officer Jennifer Ahearn.

“Her [Weatherford’s] proposal gained traction with several agencies quickly coming together to bring this initiative to life. This idea, and its execution, typifies just the kind of creative and innovative thinking we want to encourage more of,” Manderson said. “The Civil Service was already planning to mount an internal innovation pledge in 2020, to encourage staff to come up with fresh ways to make the lives of those we serve better. The idea, which we’ve built the gift-giving campaign around, fits neatly into this kind of thinking.”

DCFS Director Paulinda Mendoza-Williams welcomed the drive as a way of amplifying the department’s outreach work during the holiday season.

“During the course of the year, staff have diligently identified those clients, both young and old, whose Christmas and New Year would be brighter if they were gifted a token of goodwill,” she said. “A cuddly toy for a toddler, a supermarket gift voucher for a single parent, some toiletries for a senior, all gifts will be gratefully appreciated.”

Donors, according to a GIS statement, are encouraged to take a selfie or a short video clip to share at #CIGGiving.

Once collected, the presents will be hand-delivered to the recipients by DCFS and FRC staff in time to be opened on Christmas Day.

How it works

  • Participants select a tag, which identifies a recipient’s age, gender and a gift idea.
  • They can then return with the unwrapped present in a gift bag (with the tag affixed) and place under the Giving Tree no later than noon Tuesday, 17 Dec.
  • The Government Administration Building is open between 9am and 5pm on weekdays.

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