The Norman Transcript

July 25, 2013

Gift website lifts survivors’ spirits

By Jessica Bruha
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — A social gifting site that set up an Oklahoma Outreach page has been helping put smiles on the faces of tornado survivors for the past few months.

Wednesday was the last day to pick up the gifts, which were sent to St. Andrews United Methodist Church in south Oklahoma City. Those affected by the tornadoes chose four items on the site Ziftit.com, and then people from around the country purchased the items and they were sent to the church to be picked up.

“In the wake of a disaster, we wanted to have a few things to make them smile,” said Amy Hart, partner relations manager of Ziftit.

Some kids wanted legos, bicycles or other toys and some families asked for bedding, pots and pans, dishes and clothing, Hart said.

“Over 350 gifts have been purchased through the kindness of strangers,” she said. “And there’s still several more. People are still able to send out gifts to friends and families, purchase the gifts through donations or just people around the country or anonymous people can purchase the gifts.”

Ziftit contacted St. Andrews after reading that the church was going to fill backpacks for students of Briarwood and Plaza Towers. They reached out to the church, sending them information to put in the children’s backpacks telling them how to set up their wishlist on Ziftit’s Oklahoma Outreach webpage.

Since many of the children and their families lost their homes in the storms, St. Andrews offered to have the gifts sent to the church.

Hart said as families received their gifts Wednesday, they would have their pictures taken and receive notes attached to the gifts written by fourth-grade students from California.

“The coolest thing has been just some of the notes the kids have sent back just to us,” she said.

Hart said she’s glad they have been able to put a smile on survivors’ faces.

“The church has done an amazing job to provide the space for these gifts for two months, reaching out to families when gifts arrive and handling distribution each week,” she said.

Ziftit is a free, online social gifting website based in San Diego.

It allows users to set up a wishlist, add items from any retailer and send out to friends and family through Facebook, Twitter and email.

For more information, visit Ziftit.com.