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Visit Saint Paul, the city’s official convention and visitors’ bureau, participated in the “Adopt a Family” program with local non-profit Face to Face for the third straight year.

The program connects disadvantaged families with companies or other families who agree to buy gifts for children off the family’s wish list.  The gifts are then wrapped and numbered with the family number and child’s name and delivered to Face to Face. Visit Saint Paul staff collected gifts for two families and a total of five kids ranging in age from 4 to 14.

“Our mission is to introduce new visitors to Saint Paul,” said Adam Johnson, vice president of marketing, Visit Saint Paul. “But during the holiday season, it’s nice to pause and take care of those people who are already in our city and may be struggling a little bit this time of year.”

Johnson spearheaded the opportunity for the company.

“We are so thankful for Visit Saint Paul’s annual support of this program,” said Lynda Bennett, executive director, Face to Face.  “You can see in the smiles and tears of the recipients when they receive the gifts that many have never before felt so cared for.”

Visit Saint Paul was one of 37 businesses, corporations, faith organizations, schools, non-profits, groups, and families who answered the call for help in 2013. In 2012, 38 families and 75 youth on their own received holiday gifts thanks to generous donations from supporters. The 2013 goal was to provide gifts for 40 needy families and 100 youth on their own.  That goal was exceeded by 12 families. In total, 52 needy families received gifts. An additional 100 youth served at Face to Face’s SafeZone drop-in center for homeless youth will receive individual gift bags.

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