DHHS offers Adopt-A-Student program as school year approaches

August 10, 2014

With many Delaware families already starting their back-to-school shopping, the Department of Health and Social Services asks Delawareans to remember students who are less fortunate by making a donation through the state’s Adopt-A-Student program.

While staff members for the Adopt-A-Student programs for New Castle County and for Kent and Sussex counties say they have plenty of backpacks and school supplies, they still need gift cards so families can do back-to-school clothes shopping on their own.

The Adopt-A-Student program asks for gift cards in denominations of $15, $25, $30, $50 or $100 to support families as they buy school uniforms. The gift cards can be from specific stores such as Target, Walmart, Old Navy, Forman Mills, Kmart, or more general gift cards such as Visa or American Express.

Last year, more than 710 children in New Castle County and more than 150 children in Kent and Sussex counties were served through the Adopt-A-Student programs, coordinated through DHSS’ Division of State Service Centers. Still, there weren’t enough donations to help more than 100 children in Kent and Sussex counties.

“All of our families in Delaware want their children prepared for school and ready to achieve to their full potential,” DHSS Secretary Rita Landgraf said. “Adopt-A-Student is a great way for the community to support less-fortunate families and to help more Delaware students remove any possible barriers to success.”

Renee Beaman, director of the Division of State Service Centers, said although demand remains high, Delawareans have a critical opportunity to make a difference. “By making a generous donation of a gift card or by check, you are connecting with families and offering them the opportunity to bring the excitement of back-to-school shopping to their families, too,” she said.

In the Cape Region, gift cards can be dropped off or mailed to Kent/ Sussex Adopt-A-Family, Milford State Service Center Annex, 13 SW Front St., Suite 103, Milford, DE 19963. Tax-deductible cash donations from individuals and businesses can be made to: Human Services Council Inc., 13 SW Front St., Suite 103, Milford, DE 19963. United Way donations can be designated by writing in the following code: Kent/Sussex: No. 12774.

Year-round, the Adopt-A-Family program aids families in crisis - those struggling with illness, homelessness, domestic violence, poverty or unemployment. The program, begun in 1973, is coordinated by the Division of State Service Centers in all three counties.

The Division of State Service Centers is already gearing up for the Adopt-A-Family Holiday program, too. 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.

For more information about the Adopt-A-Student or the Adopt-A-Family Holiday Program, contact
 Kent/Sussex County Adopt-A-Family at 302-424-7260.


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