Volunteer Spotlight: Kelly Ford

GiFT is very thankful and appreciative for its volunteers who help carry out the mission. Meet Kelly Ford, an amazing volunteer who gives of her time and talent to support our families.

1. When did you start volunteering for GiFT?

I started volunteering with GiFT five years ago. At first my sisters and I would help Jennifer out during the Holiday Project. We did the shopping and helped with wrapping nights. Then, one year we decided to make a delivery. It was a great experience and we really enjoyed it, so we volunteered to do deliveries every Christmas. Around the beginning of 2013 I started getting more involved and helping out with more than just deliveries.

2. Why do you choose to volunteer?

I volunteer for GiFT for many reasons. After doing more deliveries and actually getting to meet the families that we were helping, I really felt the need to do more. The parents are always so appreciative and grateful. There is no better feeling than when you open the back of the car and can see the look on their faces when they see all the baby items that we are able to provide. I leave a delivery feeling so wonderful. I think it is also so great that we are able to provide items for the baby's siblings. They sacrifice a lot when there is an infant that needs special attention. 

Working at GiFT is also a great reminder to me to be thankful for what i have. There are so many infants that are hospitalized for such long periods of time that these families are doing everything they can to pay medical bills, keep a job, spend time with their newborns, and also take care of their families at home.

3. What are your main responsibilities?

I do a lot of different things for GiFT.  I help with the donation pickups from local area stores that we are partnered with. I also do inventory, which is bringing in all of the donations, sorting them out, and organizing the GiFT headquarters so that it is easy to pull from inventory when gathering items for a family. I am also a family liaison, where I work with the families to see what essential baby items they are in need of. I help with the fundraising event, and any other events that we might have throughout the year.

4. What is your most memorable GiFT moment?

For me my most memorable GiFT moment was just last year, when I was a family liaison for my very first time. I got to actually go to the hospital to meet the baby and her family. I got to do the initial interview and prepare everything for our holiday project. I worked pretty closely with the family and when I finally made the delivery right before Christmas it was amazing. The older brother, who was four, was there when we brought all of the stuff into their house. He was so excited.  He asked me if i worked for Santa! (in his defense, I may have been wearing my hot pink santa hat!)  I knew they were going to have a great Christmas even though it was probably one of the hardest times in their lives. A month later when the baby was discharged, the mom called me out of the blue. She just wanted me to know the good news. I felt honored that she even thought to call me to let me know.

5. What is your favorite part of volunteering for GiFT?

My favorite part is definately the deliveries. Also, meeting the kids.

6. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be?

If I could travel anywhere in the world it would have to be Hawaii. I love palm trees, sand, and ocean.  Anywhere tropical is great but i think it would be cool to go to Hawaii and see all of the beautiful sights.

7. What is your go-to St. Louis restaurant?

My favorite restaurant in St. Louis is Hacienda! The Old Spaghetti Factory is a close second, but nothing can beat their tacos and margaritas!