Mayor Bill de Blasio and Chief Service Officer Laura Rog today announced that holiday wishes for more than 3,700 New York City children and youth were fulfilled by more than 2,000 volunteers from the City government, including the Mayor, and the private sector through the seventh annual Secret Snowflake gift-giving initiative.
“Secret Snowflake is a testament to the giving spirit and generosity of New Yorkers. The holidays can be a difficult time for the young people of our city, but New Yorkers have shown once again how powerful we are when we work together to help those that need us,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “I want to thank the tremendous effort of all the volunteers, City agencies, and businesses that donated gifts to the youth and children that need them the most.”
Secret Snowflake mobilizes City and private sector employees as volunteers to answer letters from children and youth referred by City agencies. Since 2014, Secret Snowflake has answered the holiday wishes of more than 19,000 New York City children and youth, ranging in age from one month to 18 years old.
“2021 has presented another year of extraordinary challenges, and NYC Service is proud to support youth and their families and caregivers again this holiday season,” said Chief Service Officer Laura Rog. “We appreciate the continued commitment from our business partners and City staff in answering more than 3,700 letters this year, and the generosity they have displayed once again. Our city is at its best when residents come together to support each other, and their volunteer efforts are especially important this time of year.”
NYC Service partnered with the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS), the Department for the Aging (DFTA), the Department of Education (DOE), the Department of Homeless Services (DHS), the Human Resources Administration (HRA), the Department of Veterans’ Services (DVS) and the Mayor’s Office to End Gender-Based Violence (ENDGBV) to collect letters from children and youth served by their agencies before the holiday season. Secret Snowflake letters typically request necessities, such as clothing, shoes, or a warm coat to get through the winter, as well as toys, books, and other game-based activities.
“The Secret Snowflake initiative is a true example of the spirit of giving and this holiday season thousands of New York City children will be able to have a wonderful, memorable gift thanks to the incredible collaboration and generous donations of kind-hearted New Yorkers,” said Administration for Children’s Services Commissioner, David A. Hansell. “I want to thank Mayor de Blasio, NYC Service, and everyone who made this year’s Secret Snowflake possible for many children served by ACS.”
“This holiday season I am thankful to be a part of such a giving and close-knit community,” said Deputy Chancellor of School Climate and Wellness, LaShawn Robinson. “Secret Snowflake is a reflection of the heart of New York City which is large and overflowing with generosity, especially when it comes to our children. I extend my gratitude and heartfelt thanks to all of the individuals, organizations, and companies who made this initiative possible. Your dedication to our city and youth deserves to be celebrated.”
“This is the Department for the Aging’s third consecutive holiday season with the NYC Service Secret Snowflake initiative, which has helped us provide gifts to hundreds of kinship families and their children,” said Department for the Aging Commissioner, Lorraine Cortés-Vázquez. “This year, our Grandparent Resource Center, which supports grandparent caregivers who care for young children and help keep families united, partnered with the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice and the NYC Police Department to distribute nearly 500 gifts to families. This is more than a 75% increase from last year. We are grateful to AlphaSights, Company Ventures, Sinpulse, and Minute Media who responded to 160 letters and 87 e-Gift card submissions received from our kinship caregivers and generously provided gifts.”
“Secret Snowflake embodies the compassion of our City during the holidays, bringing communities across the five boroughs together to support children and families in need,” said Department of Homeless Services Administrator, Joslyn Carter. “We are proud to once again join NYC Service, our sister City agencies, and private partners in supporting this great initiative, which will bring joy to hundreds of children experiencing homelessness during this holiday season.”
“New Yorkers always come together in challenging times, and Secret Snowflake is a perfect example of the big-hearted generosity of our city’s residents and businesses,” said Department of Veterans’ Services Commissioner, James Hendon. “We are appreciative of NYC Service and our private partners in helping to provide a happy holiday for the children of our Veterans and military community.”
New York City’s private sector is a major contributor to Secret Snowflake. This year, employees from 25 NYC businesses responded to Secret Snowflake letters. NYC Service supplemented its gifts with donations from small and large businesses across the city, valued at nearly $21,000. AlphaSights donated $4,999 and Miller Druck provided crucial storage facilities for this year’s initiative.