Empower Local Families this Holiday Season through the Children’s Foundation’s Adopt-A-Family Program

November 16, 2020

aaf family

The annual Adopt-A-Family Program, run by the Children’s Foundation of Guelph and Wellington, is still bringing hope and joy home for the holidays to local families in need, but in a different format this year due to COVID. For the health and safety of all those involved, the Foundation made the decision to adapt the program to a gift card model this year instead of accepting gifts for families.

“Though things look a little bit different for 2020, the underlying message of hope and support remains the same. We are still helping families, and we are still matching businesses and donors to these families,” says Emma Rogers, CEO for the Children’s Foundation. “The format may be different, but the impact on local families is still the same.”

The gift card model, while not the usual type of holiday shopping that donors have come to know, has been well-received by local families who are part of the program. “Receiving the gift cards gives families a sense of autonomy and control, which is a wonderful addition this year,” says Kristin Hunter, a social worker from CMHA. “Being able to have that added sense of control, after a year where so much has been out of their control, allows parents to own the emotions and feelings in a new way when the children are opening their gifts on Christmas morning. They get to have a sense of empowerment knowing that they were the one to pick out that special gift for their child.”

For more than 30 years, the Adopt-A-Family Program has helped thousands of families receive necessities, gifts, and grocery cards for a holiday meal. Each year, the program grows a little bit more, but this year has seen an influx in referrals, while at the same time a decline in donations.

“There are no doubts that 2020 is tougher than usual, as so many are dealing with the effects of the pandemic,” says Karyn Kirkwood, Adopt-A-Family Program Director. “We’re seeing stories of families who have lost jobs due to COVID, but it has also impacted our donor community. I’ve heard from many companies and donors who are not able to give as much this year due to their own circumstances. It speaks volumes about the compassion and generosity of our community that our donors are still thinking of others when they themselves may be struggling. We are definitely in a tough spot though, wondering if this is the year we won’t be able to support all the families referred.”

With hundreds of families still waiting to be adopted, the Foundation is in need of donors who can bring hope and joy to families in need this holiday season. Donors have the option to sign up to adopt a family, or they can make a cash donation or purchase gift cards which can be pooled together to support the families who have not yet been adopted.

For more information or to sign up as a donor, please click here.