In Delaware, the Human Services Council, Inc., in partnership with the Department of Health and Social Services, is seeking individuals, businesses and organizations to help provide holiday gifts for thousands of the state’s children and seniors living in poverty or in low-income households.
Each holiday season, donors are anonymously matched to a senior or family of one or more children through the Holiday Adopt-A-Family program. Adopt-A-Family provides the donor with the age and gender of each child in the family and a brief description of the circumstances that led to their need for assistance. The donor then provides gift cards or certificates for the head-of-household to use in buying holiday gifts. The recommended gift is $100 to $125 per child, with a gift certificate for the parent optional.
Those interested in adopting a senior will be matched to an individual in need living in a nursing home. A wish list of things the individual likes and would appreciate, as well as clothing preferences and sizes, will be provided. Items can be dropped off for Cape Region residents at Kent and Sussex County Adopt-A-Family offices, 13 SW Front St., Milford, or at a one-day event in Dover from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 11 at Carroll’s Plaza, 1114 S. DuPont Highway, Dover.
“Adopt-A-Family embodies the Delaware tradition of neighbors helping neighbors,” said Gov. Jack Markell. “I encourage people from across the state to reach out through Adopt-A-Family to help provide a holiday to children, families and seniors who otherwise would go without one. Together, we can showcase the best of our community and the best of our holiday spirit.”
“Across the state, we know the generous spirit of Delawareans,” said Rita Landgraf, secretary of the Department of Health and Social Services, which oversees the Adopt-A-Family program. “During these challenging economic times, please consider donating a gift card or gift certificate to help children, families or seniors experience a happier holiday season. Through a simple gift, we can show how one life can positively impact so many others.”
In 2011, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly 16 percent of Delawareans lived below the poverty line. In September 2013, more than 154,000 Delawareans qualified for food stamps and more than 215,000 people are on Medicaid. Delaware’s unemployment rate for August 2013 was 7.3 percent.
To adopt an individual or family in Kent and Sussex counties, contact the Kent and Sussex Adopt-A-Family at 302-424-7260 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
The deadline to “adopt” a family is Dec. 10, and all gift cards and gifts must be delivered to the Adopt-A-Family Office by Dec. 16. Families who are adopted come to each location to receive their assistance.
In 2012, the Holiday Adopt-A-Family program, through the leadership of the Human Services Councils of New Castle County and Kent/Sussex counties, helped more than 2,500 Delawareans. Most of the beneficiaries are single-parent households, children and senior citizens. They are referred to Adopt-A-Family by a social worker or case manager through state agencies and human service nonprofit organizations.
For these programs, Adopt-A-Family accepts financial and in-kind donations. Checks can be made payable to: Adopt-A-Family and mailed to Adopt-A-Family, 13 SW Front St., Milford, DE 19963.