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City Employees Aid Families in Need Through Long-Standing Program of Giving

Press release from City of Gainesville

City of Gainesville employees are spreading holiday cheer to area families through its annual Gainesville Little Ones (GLO) program. Next week, staff will drop off new bicycles and toys to 49 area children, in addition to clothes and grocery gift cards for their families. 

“Dozens of City staff volunteer every year, and every department participates by adopting a family or making a private donation to Gainesville Little Ones,” said Mary Bullington, who, along with fellow City employee Barbara Beck, helps organize the program.

“Especially with the coronavirus pandemic this year, we’re very happy to continue to help our neighbors through the program,” she said.
Since 1979, City staff have adopted nearly 1,000 families in need. In past years, the gifts were distributed to them during a scheduled holiday gathering. Due to the pandemic, Gainesville Fire Rescue staff are delivering the presents to the homes of this year’s 13 families selected by the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF).

“We have partnered with GLO for over ten years, and it is humbling to witness the generosity of City staff each year and the effort they put into making Christmas brighter for children in Gainesville,” said DCF Community Development Administrator Cheryl Twombly. “Their work to fill the gift wishes for strangers is the best example of holiday spirit, and this collaboration allows us to connect this wonderful program to families in need.”     

In addition, City employees are donating 60 toys to St. Francis House for children of families arriving at the center. Now in its 42nd year, 2020 is the first year the program has accepted private donations online, raising $1,000 toward the purchase of bicycles and grocery gift cards. No tax dollars fund this program; GLO is supported by private giving.