Their stories will touch one's heart. A family of six will celebrate their final Christmas together because the father, who is the family provider, has terminal cancer. A grandmother, who must raise four grandchildren while both parents are incarcerated, has only a small pension and Social Security to support the family. A single mother of five, who is homeless after fleeing a domestic violence situation, lost her job due to unstable housing.
With even more people seeking help from the state’s Holiday Adopt-A-Family program in just the past few weeks, additional donors are needed to share their kindness - and holiday gifts - for hundreds of Delaware children and seniors living in low-income households. To meet the need, the deadline to adopt a family has been extended, and all gift cards and gifts must be delivered to an Adopt-A-Family office by Thursday, Dec. 19.
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 but thoughtful. The program is coordinated by the Human Services Council Inc., in partnership with the Department of Health and Social Services.
“When the need is greatest, Delawareans always step forward to help,” Gov. Jack Markell said. “This is an opportunity to join with others at work, school, your place of worship, or at home to help those who are at risk of doing with very little this holiday season. Adopt-A-Family showcases the best of our community and the best of the holiday spirit.”
In Delaware, 804 children, including 516 in New Castle County and 288 in Kent and Sussex counties, are awaiting adoption. There are also approximately 10 seniors across the state who need help from donors. So far, almost 1,000 children, and more than 110 seniors and individuals with disabilities have been adopted.
“It is the personal connection that has always been the hallmark of Adopt-A-Family,” said Robert Broesler, senior administrator for the Office of Community Services, which oversees the Adopt-A-Family program.
“Across the state, we know the generous spirit of Delawareans,” Department of Health and Social Services Secretary Rita Landgraf said. “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. No gift is too small.”
In 2011, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly 16 percent of Delawareans lived below the poverty line.
To adopt an individual or family in Kent and Sussex counties, call 302-424-7260 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday..
For more information about Adopt-A-Family, go to dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dssc/adoptfam.html.