Brighten the holiday season for yourself and others by adopting a senior, a foster child, or a family in need. Consider these local opportunities:
Home Instead Senior Care “Be a Santa to a Senior”
“Kids are remembered but the seniors tend to be forgotten during this time of the year,” says Brian Jackson, owner of Home Instead Senior Care in Campbell.
Home Instead Senior Care partners with nonprofits and care facilities to identify seniors who might not otherwise receive holiday gifts. Since the “Be a Santa to a Senior” national program began in 2006, more than 1.2 million gifts have been presented nationwide to more than 700,000 seniors.
Each senior’s name and gift requests are written on a big tag hung like an ornament on a holiday tree in a local business or shop. Shoppers select and remove an ornament, purchase a gift, then return the unwrapped gift and ornament to the shop. Volunteers collect, wrap and deliver the gifts.
“Being a Santa to a senior is something that really makes a difference. I think just having someone visit and pay attention to them during the holidays means as much as the gift,” says Jackson.
These businesses are hosting trees with ornaments for about 500 seniors total: Safeway, 3071 Stevens Creek at Winchester by Westfield Valley Fair Mall (after Thanksgiving); Gene’s Fine Foods grocery store, 18850 Cox Avenue, Saratoga; and Hot Java, 17400 Monterey Street, Morgan Hill.
Information: www.beasantatoasenior.com. Call the Home Instead Campbell office, (408) 370-6360, to volunteer to wrap presents.
Charity Cars for Kids “Adopt a Family in Need Secret Santa Program”
Be matched with an economically disadvantaged family and purchase a food card for the family and gifts for the children. The adoption deadline is December 18 or 19 as volunteers wrap and organize gifts December 21. Santa Claus himself delivers the gifts and a holiday meal to each adopted family on December 23.
In 2010, 36 families were adopted and 81 families received holiday food from the food pantry. As of mid-November this year, seventeen and a half families have been adopted.
“It’s hardest for large families to be adopted,” says Parker, explaining the half family adoption. Parker would love to have 100 families adopted for 2011.
Visit http://www.charitycarsforkids.org/ for information. To help out, contact Kelly Parker at Charity Cars for Kids, 2725 Lafayette Street, (408) 748-0081.
Bill Wilson Center “Adopt-A-Family Giving Program”
Donors are matched with a youth receiving social services and asked to purchase specific items from a wish list provided by the youth’s social worker. In 2010, 1,000 youth in the Adopt-A-Family Giving Program were matched with donors. About 400 youth still need to be adopted for the 2011 holidays.
“These are kids that might not otherwise get gifts. Some are with foster parents, and others are working towards reunification with their families,” says Aimee Zube, Development Manager at the Bill Wilson Center for youth in Santa Clara (www.billwilsoncenter.org). “Most families are financially challenged, and any gifts will help them to provide a more pleasant holiday season for the youth.”
E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or phone Zube at (408) 850-6129 to help out.