Holiday donation opportunities in Utah

This holiday season, Gov. Gary R. Herbert has encouraged Utahns to volunteer and donate to neighbors, veterans and others as a mark of gratitude for the blessings they enjoy. Accordingly, the Utah Department of Human Services has organized several donation programs to help Utah’s foster children and mental health patients as well as adults with no family who are wards of the state. Below are several ways to become involved:

The Forgotten Patient Christmas Project — The Utah State Hospital

  • What it is: Being in a hospital over the holidays can be difficult for patients, especially for those without family or loved ones to visit them. The Forgotten Patients Christmas Project provides Christmas gifts to State Hospital patients who have mental health disorders and who otherwise would not receive anything due to a lack of family or because of other difficult circumstances.  

  • How you can help: You can help by volunteering as a sponsor and providing gifts for these individuals. Sponsors receive an information sheet about one individual—complete with clothing sizes, hobbies, interests, favorite foods and other requests—and are then free to select certain items they would like to purchase and give, with the exception of a few items for the safety of the patients (please clarify with a State Hospital professional on which items may not be good gifts to give). The gifts are wrapped, labeled and delivered to the Hospital, where patients open them on Christmas morning.  

  • Contact: Learn more or volunteer today by contacting Shawna Peterson at 801-344-4254 or speterson@utah.gov. If you would like to help, but are unable to sponsor a patient, cash donations are also accepted.

Donations for Office of Public Guardian clients

  • What it is: The Utah Office of Public Guardian is a state agency that provides guardianship and  services to adults who are unable to make basic life decisions for themselves and have no other family to care for them. Each year around the holidays, many individuals OPG serves are in need of items like clothing, bedding and personal care supplies.  

  • How you can help: With no family to care or  provide for their needs, you can help by donating cash or a gift card that help to purchase needed items and ensure that all individuals receive a gift for Christmas.
  • Send checks or gift cards to:
    Office of Public Guardian
    195 N. 1950 W.
    Salt Lake City, UT 84116
  • Contact: If you have questions, please email utahopg@utah.gov or call (801) 538-8255.

Backpacks and Duffle Bags for Children in Foster Care — Child and Family Services

  • What it is: The Utah Division of Child and Family Services (DCFS) is responsible for helping families when abuse or neglect occurs in their home. Whenever safely possible, we work to keep children in their homes, with their families. Unfortunately,  there are situations where a child is not safe in their home and  must be removed to live with a foster family. When this occurs, the child has to gather their belongings in whatever is readily available at their home. Being separated from family under these circumstances is traumatic, and can have impact on a child’s  self-worth. That trauma is compounded when the child has to pack their personal belongings often in a garbage bag.

  • How you can help: Your donations of collapsible, easy-to-store, new-with-tags backpacks and duffle bags ensure our caseworkers are always prepared with bags in their office and state vehicles so children can properly transport their things. Drop off your donation at one of the specified locations below:

BAG SPECIFICATIONS

Minimum sizes:

Backpacks — 12 x 16 in.

Duffle bags — 20 x 10 x 12 in.

Material: Any reasonably durable material that can be flattened for storage.

DROP OFF LOCATIONS

Sandy Office, 10008 S. Creek Run Way, Sandy, UT, (801) – 253-5720

Ogden Office, 950 E. 25th St., Suite C, Ogden, UT, (801) 629-5800

Provo Office, 140 E. Center St., Suite 5100, Provo, UT, (801) 374-7005

  • Contact: For more information, contact Ashley Sumner at (801) 856-5683 or ashleysumner@utah.gov.

If you found this blog entry interesting, please consider sharing it through your social network.