First Choice of Saginaw & SCCMHA hand out $50 gift cards to consumers for holidays

Some planned for clothes. Some thought of getting gifts for Christmas for loved ones. Some wanted something as small as Diet Pepsi.

But all were just grateful to be able to have a little extra this holiday season. 

First Choice of Saginaw and Saginaw County Community Mental Health Authority paired up on Friday, Dec. 8 for their annual event to donate $50 Meijer gift cards to residents of adult foster care homes who needed the extra assistance.

Director of Network Services, Public Policy & Continuing Education Jennifer Keilitz was happy to see the turnout and response from residents.

“They always ask us about when the event is coming up,” Jennifer said. “It’s a really great way to give back.”

Typically, adult foster care (AFC) room and board payments, pays for three meals a day, soap, toothpaste, shampoo, laundry detergent and other essentials, but residents are left with only a little spending money around $44.00 per month (this has been the same amount since 1994) on themselves per month. The donated gift cards allow them to be able to pick up a few other items they may need or want.

“We started First Choice of Saginaw in 2002 and became a 501(c)3 as many of these AFCs want to find ways to improve their residents’ quality of life,” Jennifer said. “Being able to buy some of their favorite foods or clothes is a wonderful thing for them.”

The mood was festive in the Community Ties North building of SCCMHA, where the gift cards were handed out. Residents of AFCs were able to enjoy refreshments, pick up some hats or gloves and were even able to make some Christmas cards, while visiting and talking about what they may use their extra spending money for.

“It’s great to hear their different ideas,” Jennifer said. “There’s not any selfishness in what they’re doing.”

First Choice gathers the money to pay for the gift cards through several different fundraising events throughout the year. These fundraisers range from hot dog sales, bake sales, popcorn sales, or other social events.  We also appreciate those staff choose to donate each month out of their paycheck. 

Jennifer says the planning for 2024 fundraisers will begin this upcoming February.