PRESENT NOW started in a garage in 2012. Founders Erica Fisher and Melanie Neumann, two mothers with a passion for helping children in need, saw an opportunity to use their gifts for good and jumped on it.
Built on a mission to give children in domestic violence shelters a sense of joy, comfort, and relief through gifts and experiences, PRESENT NOW delivered 118 presents in their first year. As moms, Erica and Melanie knew how much they loved their own kids and believed, “Every child deserves to feel loved, to know kindness, and to experience joy.” Giving gifts to children who had experienced significant anger and violence was a small act that would make a big difference.
Nine years later, PRESENT NOW has delivered over 9,750 presents to nearly 5,550 families living in over 40 domestic violence shelters across the nation. By working with transitional violence shelters, where residents stay between 12-18 months, PRESENT NOW is able to give three annual gifts to children throughout the year. Their hope is to provide a sense of consistency to kids who have had their lives turned upside down.
PRESENT NOW Programs include:
- Presence of Love is a Valentine’s Day gift that includes a digital device to encourage and aid children in learning.
- Presence of Mind is a back-to-school gift that includes a backpack filled with age-specific school supplies to help start the school year off right.
- Presence of Being is a birthday gift, sent quarterly to children living in shelters so that children know they are valued and should celebrate who they are.
- Presence of Joy (Coming Soon!) will be an inaugural cohort of 40 high school volunteers committed to coordinating food drives, drop-offs, and onsite activities with families including arts & crafts, Mother’s Day gifts, movie nights, and indoor/outdoor activities at six Los Angeles partner shelters.
If there is one thing aside from donations that PRESENT NOW relies on, it’s volunteers. “They are essential to our organization and instrumental to our success,” says Mackenzie Mazen, Program and Volunteer Manager. From organizing, wrapping, and tying ribbon, to deliveries and administrative support, each program is dependent on volunteers. Because of the work they do, children who have witnessed extreme anger and violence instead experience hope knowing their past doesn’t define their self-worth or their future.
To learn more about PRESENT NOW, visit their website or check out their growth plan today.
Volunteers can sign up online.
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