Holiday Program FAQ

Frequently Requested Information

Sponsor-a-Family Information

  • What does it mean to Sponsor a Family/Individual?
    When you register to sponsor families and/or individuals in Britepaths' Holiday Program, you are making a commitment to helping a person or people in the Fairfax County area who are in need by supplying food at Thanksgiving and/or the December holidays and/or December holiday gifts for any children in the family who are under 18.
  • Sponsors will deliver the food and/or gifts to the family's school social worker to maintain the family's privacy and simplify the delivery process. 
  • When should I deliver the food and/or gifts?
    Thanksgiving food should be delivered to the family's school social worker by Friday, November 22 so the family can pick it up on Monday, November 25.
    December food and/or gifts should be delivered to the family's school social worker by Monday, December 16 so the family can pick it up on Tuesday, December 17. Britepaths will close at 3pm on December 20.
  • What type of food should I provide? 
    Non-perishable foods, namely stuffing, sweet potatoes, potatoes, canned vegetables, canned cranberry sauce, canned gravy, juice, shelf stable milk. If you'd like to include a few staples such as boxed macaroni and cheese or canned soups and fruits, that would be appreciated. Many sponsors like to include a modest grocery store gift card so the families can purchase some fresh food for their meal.
  • Do I have to buy everything on the gift wish list?
    No, you should purchase the items you think are appropriate. Wish list items are just suggestions. Many sponsors like to give each child a clothing item, book and a fun item (a toy or other item off the wish list).
  • How much do I spend for food and gifts?
    For a holiday meal, the average recommended amounts are:
    Singles: $25
    Small family (2-3 people): $50
    Medium family (4-6 people): $75
    Large family (7 or more people): $100
    For gifts for children, we recommend a minimum of $25-$30 per child.
  • Do I buy gifts for the parents?
    We have made it clear to social workers and clients that gifts are intended for children younger than 18 years of age. You should not feel obligated to buy the parents gifts. However, some sponsors like to get a little something for the mom and/or dad, and Britepaths does not have a problem with this. It is completely up to the sponsor.
  • Do I wrap the gifts?
    Yes, you can but it's not required. Just make sure to label each gift, wrapped or unwrapped, with the child's gender and age.
  • Can I buy gift cards?
    Many families appreciate gift cards.
  • What kind of gifts should I buy?
    It is a good idea to check the wish list first. We recommend considering basic needs first, i.e. clothing, shoes, pajamas, underwear & socks, coats and winter wear. Many sponsors like to give each child a clothing item, book and a fun item (a toy or other item off the wish list). Note that teens love gift cards: Target, Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Shopping Mall gift card.
  • Do I provide a turkey?
    Since you will be delivering the food to the school, we strongly recommend providing a grocery gift card in the amount of $20 or $25 so the family can purchase their main dish. 
  • Who is my contact if there is a problem?
    Please contact us at or at 703.273.8829 if you have any questions.

Donation Information

  • How can I donate funds to the Holiday Program? CLICK HERE to make a donation to the Holiday Program through our secure on-line donation page. Or mail a check to Britepaths, 3959 Pender Dr., Suite 200, Fairfax VA 22030 and write "Holiday Program" on the memo line. CLICK HERE for information on Corporate Sponsorship of the Holiday Program.
  • How will Britepaths use donated funds? Funds you donate to the Holiday Program will be used to purchase gift cards to send to families who are registered in our program but who are not sponsored by an external donor – so that they have the opportunity to purchase holiday meals and gifts for their children. Note that if donations arrive after we have distributed gift cards, they will be used throughout the year to help needy families in our community.
  • How do donations of gift cards help? We love to receive donations of gift cards in denominations of $10, $20 and $25. Once received and logged, these donations will be passed on directly to families on our Holiday Assistance list who we were not able to match with sponsors. If we receive gift card donations after we have finished distributing Holiday Assistance, they will still be used to help families in need in our community. Gift cards are considered to be "in kind" contributions. When you purchase gift cards to donate, save your receipt for your tax records.
  • What types of gift cards are best? Gift cards from major discount and grocery stores that are widely available in our area are the most helpful. We greatly appreciate gift cards from Target and Walmart to help families purchase gifts for their children, and Giant, Safeway and Shoppers to help them purchase their holiday meals.