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Adopt a Family

Christmas charity program to help needy families.

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Make Christmas happen for those who need it most

  • Nov 24, 2009
  • by
Rating:
+5
Christmas was always a big deal in my family when I was growing up, and even in tough years, you would never know it on the morning of the 25th. Santa was good to me regardless of my parents' situation and sometimes my stocking would spill over into a backup supermarket bag leaving me with candy supplies until March or April.

The tree in our lounge was put to the test, with branches buckled to the point of snapping under the massive load of lights and ornaments. It would start shedding needles within days under the strain. The warm glow of hundreds of flashing red and white lights was always a comfort to watch in the darkness. Together with the 5000-calorie dinners, late night board and card games, and endless loops of Nat King Cole, Slade and Bing Crosby, Christmas was the highlight of the calendar.

But this year, many families won't be having that experience. In fact, millions will be lucky to spend Christmas Day in the homes they struggle to afford, dealing with job losses and massive debts, and saddled with desperate thoughts about how they'll possibly survive in 2010. At the end of a very tough year, for these people there will be no reprieve, and they won't have the brief joyful period that the majority of us do. An uneventful Christmas without any spirit is something most adults would find pretty miserable, but for those with kids it's nothing more than torture and a persistent nagging feeling of failing to provide as a parent.

Personally, I can't imagine telling small children that Santa won't be visiting this year, and that's why I decided 2009 was the time to do something about it. While I appreciate all the gifts I've been given by friends and family over the years, this Christmas I want nothing, and I've asked everyone to donate to an Adopt a Family fund early. Whatever is raised can then be given to one of these families who simply won't have a Christmas otherwise. Just a couple of hundred dollars is the difference and will transform a single family's experience.

I'm not asking you to give up the gifts, but if you can afford it, this year I urge you to join an Adopt a Family program. There are many charities running these campaigns, including the Salvation Army, but whichever you choose the goal is the same. Even if you've never been big on charity programs before, there's never been a more important time to help where you can. And whether you have ten dollars or a thousand to donate, this is the year you can be the real Santa Clause for families who need to see him the most. Take action, and spread the word: there are millions out there depending on us.
 

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November 29, 2009
If you'd like to donate to our efforts, by the way, please click here for my Paypal donation page - everything we raise we'll put straight back into our donation this year. If you have $1 or $10, it all helps.
 
November 27, 2009
A wonderful idea. Last year my company worked with an Adopt a Family organization-and each department was assigned a family to buy gifts for. As members of the department we got to chose which member of the family we wanted to shop for (mom, dad, son, daughter , or senior etc). It was fun and meaningful to shop (within a budget) for essential and fun/special gifts for our person.
November 29, 2009
Great to hear - so many people depend on programs like this!
 
November 25, 2009
A noble idea. Here's hoping that lots of folks heed your advice and do something like this.
November 25, 2009
Thanks - I hope they do too.
 
November 25, 2009
This year, we're actually adopting a senior living building thru my wife's work. I was shocked and surprised when I learned how neglected many of these folks were, and we're scurrying around picking some things (mostly just living essentials) up for them. Good work on ya writin' the piece.
November 25, 2009
That's a great idea - many of the old folks get forgotten by their families. When I lived in San Antonio, there was a homeless senior lady downtown who had been thrown out of her own house by her son and was pretty much supported by a handful of bars and restaurants... really sad. Best of luck with your effort.
 
November 25, 2009
I love this review and I will definitely spread the word since this is such a great cause.  I can't bear the thought of telling a child that Santa wouldn't be visiting this year either.  Thanks for sharing, James!
November 25, 2009
Thanks! As I keep telling friends who aren't quite convinced, you never know when you might depend on one of these charities yourself so count your blessings.
 
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James Beswick ()
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Wiki

From the Salvation Army website:

The Adopt-A-Family (AAF) program matches impoverished families with individual or group sponsors to provide for their tangible needs at Christmas. Without the benefit of an adoption, these families would be looking forward to a very grim holiday. Being adopted is designed to be a once or, on very rare occasions, twice in a lifetime event for recipient families.

When an Adopt-A-Family match is made, the family information and wish lists are sent to the sponsor. The Salvation Army ensures that the family receives the gifts and food during the week before Christmas.

Many adoptees are referred by professional social workers who help deserving families complete an application during required home visits. An inventory of each family’s needs is taken and a Christmas wish list is compiled. This gift guide may include toys, clothing, household items and information regarding the utilities and heating sources. Often sponsors will make payments on utilities or purchase wood or heating oil. Sponsors are asked to provide two or more new gifts for each member of the household and to provide food for the family for four to seven days.

Sponsors come in many shapes and sizes. They can be individuals, families, small businesses or large corporations. In many of the larger corporations, different departments often each adopt a family. Many sponsors find the experience so fulfilling that they participate in the program year after ...
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