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Positively Upstate: Things Of My Very Own

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It’s been said the true meaning of Christmas is not in the gifts themselves, but the act of giving. When you step inside the Saratoga Winery you’re greeted by a beautiful Christmas tree. It’s not decorated with ornaments; instead it’s the wishes of children written on small tags. They’re not asking for toys – these are kids in crisis and asking, needing the basic necessities to get by.

“One child last year asked for food for his baby sister. This was a 5-year-old boy. Just asking for food for his sister,” Says Tara Nimmo, owner of the Saratoga Winery.

Her business is one of many locally help a non-profit called ‘Things Of My Very Own’ which is based in Schenectady. A year round service for crisis intervention, it focuses on keeping families together and out of the foster system.

People are encouraged to take a tag off the tree – on it is a list of ‘needs’ and ‘wishes’ and even a bit of information about the child you’re helping. It could be an infant needing bedding. A 3-year-old needing a toothbrush. Or a high school senior needing a new jacket for the one he outgrew because he’s getting picked on in school for it.

Once you’ve selected a child, purchase the gifts then return them unwrapped to the location where you got the tag by December 15th. At Saratoga Winery for example, Ortiz Trucking will come collect the gifts and bring them down to Things Of My Very Own HQ.

“It’s very, very sad to hear some of the circumstance they’re in, “ Nimmo says.

Her winery got involved last year and sponsored 75 kids. This year she says they’re aiming for 200. “It’s also hopeful to see the outpouring of support we’ve had from our customers, staff, friends and family who want to jump in and help support these kids.”

For a list of locations to get wish tags or make an online monetary donation, visit the organization’s website: thingsofmyveryown.org

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