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Going online to make happy holidays for needy children


December 1996

From Correspondent Rusty Dornin

SAN FRANCISCO (CNN) -- Looking for ways to give a little this holiday season but don't know where to go? Folks in the San Francisco area need go no further than their computer keyboards.

Would-be gift givers can become cyber-Santas through the United Way's Web site "Homepage for the Holidays" ( It has messages from 3,000 needy kids about what they would like for Christmas.

For example: "I am Giovanni, I am 3 years old. I live in a low-income family. I want a teddy bear to snuggle."

The Web site makes it easy for surfers like Ann Logue to be able to give easily. "I thought it was a really neat idea that I could actually pick out the child and find out exactly what the child wanted," she said.

Donors can drop off the gift or a donation at a designated center.


In the first week, more than 300 elves of the Internet signed up.

"There are people ... who want to help somebody and want to know there's somebody specific who will get their gift," said Jillian Elliot of the United Way. "It's not a black hole. Their gift doesn't just go into a barrel anonymously someplace."

The holiday hope is that cyber-surfers may have a little more to give.

"If a standard computer user is more affluent than the rest of the population, they're also people who'd be more likely to be able to afford nice presents and to have the exptra money to do it," reasoned Ann Logue.

"Homepage for the Holidays" is a place to make virtual wishes come true.

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