One Giving Tree
Who we are...
One Giving Tree Started With a Problem...
In the winter of 2014, a local business group was offered ten free trees for a Christmas event they were organizing. The event was to be held on the same evening that was expected to be the start of the worst storm in years. Because the event was in a public place, the trees would need to be cut down across town, cleaned up, delivered, set up on the site of the event, and decorated all in the space of a couple hours.
Then, after the 3 hour event, the trees would have to be de-decorated, taken down, removed from the event venue, and disposed of the same night. After going over the logistics involved, the gift of the ten free trees looked like a problem too big to solve rather than the blessing it was intended to be. The group decided to pass up the offer. Or, at least most of the group...
One man saw the trees as an opportunity to provide ten local families in need with a free tree for Christmas. As the group was deciding to pass on the trees, this man was planning to make the most of what he saw as a way to spread some joy. He spoke up and became the recipient of ten trees. He just had to go cut them down, haul them around town, and find some families who could take them.
In the space of two and a half weeks, a fundraising campaign was launched, local non-profit agencies were contacted, volunteers were found and roped into helping, and negotiations for more trees ensued. In the end, what started out as a problem became a drive that placed 36 trees into homes of local families. In short, One Giving Tree was established.
In the weeks following delivery day, we began to hear stories of local kids and families who had never before had a Christmas tree. There were tears of joy. There were kids and families who couldn't believe someone could think of bringing them a tree for Christmas. People were blown away.
As we began to hear the stories, we were blown away too.
From now on, each and every year One Giving Tree - with your help, will deliver trees, stands, and decorations kits to local kids and families throughout the communities we serve.
In 2016 our goal was 100 tree kits. We delivered 112.
In 2017 our goal was to deliver 150 trees. We delivered 162.
In 2018 our goal was 200 trees - thanks mostly to Debbi Sanchez pushing us to do more. Man, she must think Christmas trees grow on trees. Okay, she's right about that.
Faced with new challenges like a massive tree shortage throughout the western US, and the mid-year news that our tree supplier was not able to produce the trees we needed. We pushed on. By October we still had no trees we could count on. We continued to make several phone calls to every state in the Western US and barked up every tree we could. In mid November, we had a commitment of 250 trees from McKenzie Farms in Oregon. They helped us place a special order through our local Lowe's (#gilroylowesrocks) and we somehow got it done.
We overcame challenges of increased costs, lots extra volunteer hours, insane logistics, and creatively solving new opportunities (We STILL call them opportunities, LOL). On December 1st, 2018 we delivered 252 tree kits to local kids and their families via our nonprofit partner agencies. Most importantly, the trees were absolutely beautiful.
In 2019 our goal... because we still have Debbi running things, was 300 trees. We're all knew our final number would be higher. We were still in the middle of a tree shortage, and as of September 2019 we still do not have a confirmed order or price for trees. We were also way behind on our ornament count... as in, way behind. In addition we, like our entire community, were reeling from a local tragedy that shook us to the core. Thanks to our incredible supporters, our partners and the power of prayer-as-you-go, we delivered 332 trees. We thought..."Man, it can't get worse than this!"
Welcome to 2020.
COVID-19 world. Global pandemic. Shelter-In-Place. LOCKDOWN. And worse.
The year has been hard for everyone. Here at Team One Giving Tree, we said goodbye to two of our favorite people. Debbie Guglielmetto and Alberto "Beto" R. Morales were more than volunteers. They were family. They were both exceptional people. They shared their laughter and joy with us and with everyone else they came into contact with. They were tireless and unshakable as volunteers and as people.
We said goodbye to Beto in early 2020 after he fought like a warrior through a short and sudden illness. His joy, helpfulness and character are dearly missed.
We said goodbye to Debbie in late 2020 in her final days of battling a beast called cancer. She kicked cancer's ass - living her graceful, loving life and sharing her love with everyone around her. The world is worse off without her.
Indeed, the loss of these two is felt by many far and wide. Godspeed you awesome people. Godspeed.
To celebrate Debbie and Beto, we are dedicating our 2020 tree drive to them. We will deliver 300 trees to local kids and their families - and kids of all ages, in their honor. We think they'd both be a little embarrassed by the gesture, as they were humble souls. However, we also know that as those who get left left behind, we tend to do things to help us deal with the loss.
That stated, we think this year will be special and stand out from all others - not due to the global or even local issues we're all dealing with, but rather because of Debbie and Beto.
Meet Our Team - Board Members and Awesome Volunteers!