Light One Candle, our annual holiday gift drive, offers community members the unique opportunity to fulfill holiday wish lists for recently arrived refugee families and individuals, supporting their efforts to gain control of their future and become an integral part of our community.
As a sponsor, you are given the great responsibility of providing gifts for refugee individuals and families. By working together, we can ensure many newly arrived refugees will receive much-needed household items and other gifts this holiday season as they work toward self-sufficiency.
To sponsor a refugee family during Light One Candle, kindly follow these steps:
- Read through the Light One Candle FAQ and decide the number of individuals you or your group would like to sponsor.
- Submit your Light One Candle Sponsorship Request. Your request will be received by our development coordinator, Jesse Sheets, who will work to match you with a refugee family or individual(s) in mid-November. Once matched, you will be sent a wish list for each individual or family. Cultural background information and family demographics will be included with the wish lists.
- Purchase or gather new or like-new items to fulfill a portion of the wish list, or you can choose to fulfill the entire wish list.
- Deliver wish list items, unwrapped, directly to the family or individual you are sponsoring. You will receive more information about the delivery process once you are matched with a refugee family or individual. You are not required to distribute gifts directly to the family.
- Donation receipts will be provided to all in-kind donors by the end of January.
If you have any questions, kindly feel free to reach out to our development coordinator, Jesse Sheets, at DonateSLC [at] Rescue.org.
How much should I budget per person?
Each refugee family and individual will create a wish list. The sponsor is responsible to fulfill a portion or the entirety of the wish list. Last year, the average amount spent per individual was $125.
I'd like to donate, but I don't think I'll be able to sponsor a family. What should I do?
There are many items IRC uses to ensure each family receives an equal number of gifts. We encourage donors to purchase gift cards to large chain stores, like Walmart, Smith's, or Target (in amounts between $20 and $50 preferred). You can also learn more about donating hygiene supplies and household supplies at our Donations Opportunities page.
Can I donate used items?
Yes you may. We use the terms "gently used" or "like-new" to remind people to give items that are still in working condition and aren't showing too much wear. Kindly note we are unable to accept used toys, clothing, linens, and towels. Any gently used electronics should be less than five years old.
We hope that each family or individual will receive new items, but your gently used items are important to us too. Please note, we reserve the right to refuse used items that do not meet donation standards.
Is food/alcohol an acceptable gift?
Because a large number of IRC clients have different dietary restrictions dictated by their culture, religion, or health needs, we discourage donors from giving food as a gift. Alcohol is not acceptable.
Can my family deliver gifts to the refugee family or individual we sponsor?
Each sponsor will have the opportunity to distribute gifts. We will provide more information once you are matched with a family.
Will the gifts I purchase for the refugee family or individual go to the specified family?
Yes. All gifts purchased for a specific refugee family will be given to that family; although, IRC will distribute additional/duplicate gifts at our discretion.
Since all refugees come from outside the U.S., are there sensitive cultural issues I need to be aware of?
For some donors, Light One Candle is something they do to celebrate the holidays. Like anyone, refugee individuals and families arrive with their own religious and/or cultural beliefs. Some of those beliefs may or may not be shared with donors sponsoring the family through the event. Please keep this in mind as you are selecting gifts and sharing messages. Religious gifts and messaging should be avoided.
Are the items I donate tax deductible?
Yes. The items you donate through Light One Candle count as in-kind donations. We will send you a standard in-kind donation receipt which will list the donated items (if you supplied us with an itemized list), but will not assign them a dollar value. For tax purposes, we are only able to list the items, but you may assign a value to them for your own tax purposes. Save those receipts!
While we don't assign the items a value in your receipt, it is critical for funding purposes that you provide us with copies of receipts from all your purchases. Doing so helps the IRC meet critical reporting requirements and allows us to access funds to help refugees find jobs, stay housed and access transportation. In-kind donation receipts will be provided to all donors by the end of January.
Additional Questions? Please contact our development coordinator, Jesse Sheets, at DonateSLC [at] Rescue.org (subject: Light%20One%20Candle%20-%20Sponsorship) . Thank you for supporting newly arrived refugees this holiday season!