Dec 6, 2022
ORLEANS – The holiday season is a time of joy and excitement. But for staff and volunteers with the Homeless Prevention Council, it's also a time of purpose.
As people begin preparing their holiday shopping lists for friends and family members, the council is once again working to make sure that those families in need of help this season aren't left behind. Now in its 27th year, the council's Adopt A Family program invites families in need to submit gift lists for their children. Staff and volunteers then pair families with donors, who shop for the gifts on their specific lists.
Planning for this year's Adopt A Family program began in October, and council staff and volunteers will be collecting gifts for families through Dec. 15.
"We keep getting requests for children, and we never turn anyone away," said Margaret Frondorf, the council's development director. "This is sort of an ongoing, evolving program."
Homeless Prevention Council is once again working out of its space in Skaket Corners. Inside, the space is still being organized to accommodate an influx of toys, bicycles and other gifts that will be arriving over the next two weeks.
The annual event culminates Dec. 17, when families come to pick up their gifts in person. But there's still much to be done before then, as annual participation in the program continues to increase. Frondorf said the council provided gifts for 425 children and 211 families last year.
As of Monday, 421 children have already signed up to receive gifts, she said.
"These numbers are going to continue to go way up," she said.
Jenna Karber, of Brewster, is in her seventh year volunteering for Adopt-a-Family. This year, she is working as co-chair of the program.
"I love working with the donors and the clients," she said of what brings her back as a volunteer each year. "I get to work with both sides this year. It's been really great."
While Karber said she's been "donoring out every single day," there's a need for more donors. As of Monday, there were 44 children that still needed to be paired up with a donor. Karber said that number is likely to increase.
"I actually matched about 15 kids today," she said Monday.
Inflation is playing a hand in the increased demand for help, Frondorf said. As the cost of gas, food and other materials continue to rise, that can leave little room for families to buy gifts.
"You want to bring a little joy to those families," she said. "That's what this program is all about."
The council leans heavily on volunteers to run Adopt A Family each year, and there's been a good turnout of people looking to pitch in and support the program this season.
"I'd say we have four to six [volunteers] everyday," said Christina Silva, special programs and volunteer coordinator for the council.
"Everyday there seems to be somebody new looking to help," Karber added.
Some of the most highly sought after gifts this season include LOL dolls, as well as rollerblades, scooters and skateboards.
"Honestly, it's kind of stuff for kids who want to be outside," Karber said. "There are [requests for] lots of outdoor toys, outdoor slides or obstacle courses."
There are a number of ways to support this year's program. Donors are asked to commit spending $200 per child on clothes and gifts from their wish list. There is also the option of supporting the Adopt A Family Bike Fund, where a $150 donation will cover the cost of a bicycle and helmet.
To participate in Adopt A Family as a donor, call Silva at 508-255-9667, ext. 160, or send an email to email@example.comThose interested in helping can also purchase gift cards, which are popular among teenagers, or make a donation directly to the council. To donate online, visit www.hpccapecod.org
"From Harwich to Provincetown, we're helping others in this amazing seaside community," Frondorf said. "Those who can help are, and it's a great feeling."
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