About three years ago we sponsored an Adopt-A-Family for the Holiday Season from our Community Care organization. It was a single mother with five children under the age of ten. As a staff we worked together to make this Christmas very special, since their mother had very limited income.Because of the positive feedback and the many thank yous the children shared, we have kept this family as our year round Adopt-A-Family.

We provide birthday gifts for each of them on their birthday, we collected food and monies from penny drives in the halls for Easter Dinner and a local store donated the Easter baskets that we filled up with goodies, which we collect and use year after year. We also have an Easter egg hunt for the children in one of the residence halls. At the end of year we started a school supplies drive. We collect school supplies in the residence halls, for the children for the following year. We collect pennies for Halloween and purchase store bought costumes for each of the children. We provide the mother with gift certificates to the local grocery store for Thanksgiving.

We have also supplied the mother with a camera so that she can take photos that we share with the staff to see how their efforts help make 5
childrens lives a little better. Its amazing how a five year old little boys smile can make a difference.

This past semester, we invited the mother and the five children to campus for a pre holiday party with the staff. All the staff was invited and over 75% of them stopped by to eat some snacks and watch the children open up their gifts (stockings). While they were eating we packed the mothers car with holiday gifts and food packages. We also provided the mother with gift certificates for her to use for herself. Each year we continue to add another event or activity to make their lives a little more enjoyable. It is a type of program where everyone can help in some way. The personal interaction with the children can never be replaced, seeing the excitement and joy on a child face can never be duplicated in any other way.

Robin Gagnow

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