Volunteer Center Requesting Community Support for its Holiday Adopt-a-Family Program

CONTACT: Leslie Lee
Director of Community Engagement

More Than 150 Santa Cruz County Families Still In Need of Donations of Food and Gifts This Holiday Season

SANTA CRUZ COUNTY–November 23, 2023
In an urgent response to the heightened needs of the community following devastating winter storms and floods, the Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County is expanding its annual Adopt-A-Family program. A record number of over 500 families, including an estimated 1500 children and teens—are in need of support, with an additional 150 families awaiting adoption and many more on an extensive waitlist.

The Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County, transforming lives and communities for good through volunteerism and community engagement, is calling on the community to support this unprecedented demand. 

“So many community members are still reeling from the impact of last winter’s devastating floods, and they’ve spent months now struggling with unemployment and rising costs of food and essentials,” said Christina Thurston, director of Volunteer Connections. “We’re mobilizing all resources to ensure that every child, every family, feels the warmth of their community this holiday season.”

Adopt-a-Family provides gifts, necessities, and grocery gift cards to program participants, ensuring each family member has a gift and enough food for a holiday meal. The program also supports hundreds of individual low-income children and teens by providing individual gifts.

“Nancy” and her 4 children are one of the families hoping to be adopted this year. After fleeing domestic violence, the family was homeless for several months. They have just secured housing, but have little to spare for the holidays, and are hoping you can help make this holiday a happy one for them.

It’s easy to help Nancy and the many families like hers – adopters, donors, and volunteers should Adopt-a-Family website to choose which family to support, make a direct donation and the Volunteer Elves will do the shopping, or drop off gifts at several local businesses collecting toys for this year’s recipients. The program also seeks grocery store gift cards, volunteers for packing and wrapping presents, and encourages “giving parties” in place of traditional holiday gatherings to collect gifts.

“The challenges of the current economy, compounded by the recent climate events, have brought forth an incredible surge in need,” stated Karen Delaney, the Volunteer Center’s executive director. “But history has shown us that our community’s generosity knows no bounds.”

Volunteer Judi Paap has supported the Adopt-a-Family program for several years. “Adopt-A-Family isn’t just about the gifts; it’s about coming together as a community to show our neighbors that we care, and they have not been forgotten.”

For more details, donors and volunteers should contact the Adopt-A-Family Hotline at 831-457-9834 or through email at AdoptAFamily@scvolunteercenter.org. Additional information, as well as opportunities for further involvement, can be found in the Volunteer Center’s Holiday Volunteer Guide available at https://www.scvolunteernow.org/holiday.

Adopt-A-Family Hotline: 831-457-9834


The Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County (VCSCC) has been connecting individuals, organizations and businesses for good since 1967. Each year VCSCSC engages with more than 500 community partners and more than 15,000 volunteers who connect meaningfully to help more than 9,000 residents in need. In addition to volunteer engagement and placement, VCSCC administers 19 programs to support community need, seniors, families, youth, covid response, disaster response and government partners to make Santa Cruz County a happier, healthier place to live. For more information, visit scvolunteercenter.org and find us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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