1. How are the families chosen?
Nearly all of the people who request help will have their wish published. We allow the public to select a family that particularly touches their heart.
2. Why wouldn’t you publish a wish?
Although rare, HV Kids may choose to not publish a wish. Examples of reasons why HV Kids would not post a wish would be if there was not enough information provided from the family and the hardship isn’t clear and/or if the family’s request(s) isn’t practical. If time allows, we may contact the family to give them a chance to elaborate on and/or edit their wish.
3. What is the screening process for accepting families?
There is no formal screening process. We generally employ the honor system. We do not ask for documentation for proof of need, for example, disability, employment, low income or qualification for social services. We do not ask for such documents due for liability and dignity purposes.
4. Why don’t you screen the applicants?
There are several reasons why HV Kids does not formally screen the applicants. First, we don’t want to be responsible for persons’ private information. Second, we feel that too many families fall between the cracks of being eligible for government assistance and being able to provide a dignified and sufficient home for their children. Last, though there are more reasons and nuances why we don’t screen, we don’t want any of our own biases or assumptions to affect the process.
5. What qualifies a family to have their wish accepted?
A severe hardship should be obvious. That being said, many of the families who request a Christmas wish may certainly be in need but they do not communicate the reasons clearly. Examples of situations of hardship may be low or no employment, recent life change and/or stressor, recent loss, health complications, insufficient housing or food insecurity.
6. How do families find your program?
People mainly find our program through word of mouth and from having followed Hudson Valley Kids Facebook page. When we have time, we reach out to local agencies who provide services for people in need to tell them about us. Unfortunately, we don’t get to spread the word as much as we would like.
7. Are my donations tax-deductible?
No. We are not a not-for-profit/ 501(c)(3). We hope that you will help anyway.
8. How do I know that this program is legit?
This is our 8th year running Hudson Valley Kids Christmas Wish program. You can scroll back on our Facebook page and see our past posts. We have had hundreds of people give and receive help over the years.
9. Why aren’t you a not-for-profit agency?
Hudson Valley Kids started as a hobby on Facebook. In 2013, Kristen formed HV Kids LLC hoping to monetize her passion as she became physically unable to continue to work as an occupational therapist. Kristen’s goal was and is to share as many activities and events as possible so that every child and family can find something meaningful to do no matter what their interests, abilities or finances may be. The Christmas Wish program happened organically as Kristen drew upon her volunteer experience in college as a freshman volunteer coordinator and realized that she had a platform to help people. Maybe someday this program will branch off and become a NFPO but due to both time and financial restrictions, it is not plausible now.
10. Why should I donate to this program and not to a NFP?
Our program provides a freedom to both parties whereas formal NFP’s are limited by red tape. We are the only program that we know of that has a large number of wishes that the public can read first-hand about the families’ lives that they are helping. Families get the opportunity for people to hear them and to explain their own situation.
11. How do I know if my wish has been met?
You will know that your wish has been chosen if you see “WISH MET!” next to your wish on the Wishes Granted Page.
You may be contacted by the wish-granter before you even see that your wish has been met.
In prior years I tried to email each family to tell them that their wish is met however I am a one-person operation and I don’t have enough time. I hope to have a more automated system next year so that emails can be sent automatically once a wish is met.
12. Who can submit a Hudson Valley Kids Christmas Wish?
To submit a wish, you must be a Hudson Valley resident over the age of 18 who is having severe financial hardship and who has joint or full custody of a child or children. You may also submit a wish FOR a Hudson Valley resident whom meets the aforementioned requirements. See #5 for more information on what qualifies a severe need.