I’ve been volunteering with the Adopt A Family program since I was in high school, when my friends and I went down to the donation warehouse to “shop” from donated gifts and put together packages for families in need. That was 20 years ago (yikes!) and this program is still delivering holiday cheer to people experiencing hardship in our community.
This is my second year coordinating the program and now, as the coordinator, I get to see all of the behind the scenes work that goes into matching families with donors. There’s so much to keep track of with seemingly endless sheets of paper to collect, scan, email, and file!
Written on these pieces of paper are the stories of families living in our community that are working incredibly hard day after day, to just to keep going, and for me, these stories of resilience and perseverance make every bit of effort worth it.
I love this program because I remember the first Christmas after my father died. I was 10-years old and it felt like all our family traditions were over. My mom didn’t have the money or the energy to decorate the house, cook a big meal or make the long trip to visit my grandparents. I was dreading Christmas day, knowing that my dad wouldn’t be there to cook us pancakes. BUT when I woke up I found a Barbie beach house assembled in the living room! It was the dream gift that I hadn’t even dared to ask for! It didn’t erase the grief of losing a loved one, but it did remind me that I could still feel happiness and that we could still celebrate. I often think of this moment when I read the stories of children dealing with personal loss or hardship. In the years since that morning, my family has made many new holiday traditions, including adopting a family to both pay it forward and remind people that they are not alone.
When you adopt a family for the holidays you receive their “wish list” of what will bring them joy and you get to hear a bit of their story. Here are a few examples of families waiting to be matched with a donor:
- A 9-year old girl in foster care because her parents are homeless who wants clothes and a barbie for Christmas.
- A mom and her 8-year old daughter who are the survivors of domestic violence and are asking for a blanket, board games, and art supplies.
- A mom and her 3 kids who were just able to move out of a homeless shelter and into their own home. The kids aged 9 and 10 are dreaming of a scooter or used bike. Their 1-year old baby brother needs diapers, clothes, and books and the mom wants a waffle maker.
- A family of 6 with a father works in the fields and a mother unable to work because her 10 and 12-year old daughters both have serious medical conditions. They are hoping to get some gift cards to Target so they can take their teens shopping.
- A single dad who was recently given custody of his 2-year old daughter when her mother was found to be neglecting the child due to drug-addiction. They are hoping for a life jacket for Christmas so they can play in the water together and warm clothes for the toddler.
There are hundreds of families, like these, that are waiting to be connected with a community member who can share resources and bring holiday joy.
As a donor you commit to providing gift cards for groceries and purchasing 2 gifts for each child and one gift for each parent. Donors wrap the gifts and drop them off at our donation warehouse between December 11th and December 15th.
Are you ready to make the holiday more meaningful and become a donor?
Give us a call at (831)457-9834 or fill out our online adoption request form and a volunteer will be in touch shortly.
Blog Post written by Christina Thurston our Director of Volunteer Connections. Christina started her work with the Volunteer Center as a teen volunteer and has played a crucial role in the development of our Volunteer Mobilization Department over the past 10 years. She is passionate about inclusive communities and loves finding ways for people to connect.