As seen in The Cape Cod Chronicle
Hadley Luddy may be the CEO of the Homeless Prevention Council, but with the nonprofit’s annual Adopt a Family fundraiser underway, she’s also a donor.
Luddy is one of many donors who have signed up to shop for a family in need of help this holiday season. Recently, she and her daughter found themselves on the lookout for a particularly coveted gift this season: a Taylor Swift album.
“There’s all these different colors with Taylor Swift albums,” she said. “There’s jade green versus lavender. They had the lavender, and my daughter said ‘Mom, what does she want?’ I said “jade green.’ Then it was ‘Get her jade green.’”
Now in its 28th year, Adopt a Family invites community members to sign up to shop for families from Harwich to Provincetown in need of help during the holidays. Families submit their wishlist of gifts to the council, and those families are paired with donors who shop for them. Alternatively, donors can make a monetary donation to the council and council volunteers can shop.
Luddy said the annual fundraiser is an extension of the council’s overall mission of providing housing and other forms of support to those in the community who need it. “You think about the impact a program like this can have for someone who is just barely making their rent payments, or really struggling with the increased cost of utilities and food, it’s a wonderful way that we actively engage community members in supporting community members in need,” she said.
With inflation and the rising cost of housing in recent years, demand for help through the Adopt A Family program has been increasing yearly. This year is no exception, said Jenna Karber, who along with her husband, Sean, is chairing and coordinating the holiday program. As of Monday, 191 families have signed up for help through the program, she said, and it’s expected that the overall number of families will exceed the 217 that were helped last year. “I just got five families today,” she said. “Just today in my inbox.” Karber estimated that 70 percent of families that have so far requested help this season are new to the Adopt a Family program. Luddy added that the council in general is seeing more people in the 25 to 54 age range come to them for assistance. “That growing demographic, I mean those are families,” she said. “Those are people that are working full time, they’re likely to have several children.” Karber said that 290 children have been paired up so far between 100 donors. But as of Monday, there were still 72 children in need of donors to shop for them. Fortunately, she said many donors are willing to go above and beyond to help the council meet the need each year. “The great thing that I love is the donors will go do their shopping and come back and ask [to shop] for another child,” she said. “I’ve had a lot of that this year.” Among the most asked for items this season are Barbie dolls, Legos, longboards and skateboards. The council also works with Walmart to provide bikes for children as requested. But Karber said the council is also met with more practical gift requests. “I have one family that just wants Queen size sheets for her kids’ beds,” she said. “Another parent wants room decor, because she wants to turn one of her rooms into a teen room.” New this year, the council is partnering with select local businesses from Harwich to Provincetown to offer tree ornaments. The ornaments include a QR code that allows customers to make an additional donation to the council at the point of purchase. They also provide information for people interested in helping the council get in touch with the nonprofit.
In past years, the council has run Adopt a Family out of a commercial space in Skaket Corners. But this year, council staff and volunteers are running the program out of their new office space at 8 Main St.
“We moved to this office for a reason, and one of the things we really wanted to do was get more people to come to 8 Main St.,” Luddy said. “So we’ve got our donor drop off happening here. We’ve had clients coming in to do their paperwork. We’ll do our pickup day here.”
On Dec. 16, families will stop by the council office to pick up their wrapped gifts. Karber said families can also call the council to arrange to pick up their gifts earlier if needed. There’s still time for families to sign up to participate in this year’s Adopt a Family campaign. Interested families can visit the council’s office and speak with an intake coordinator. From there, their list will be passed along to Karber and others working on the holiday program.
Luddy added that there’s also time to get involved as a donor. She said there’s a need for bike donors, while gift cards for teens ($100) and for food from stores including Stop and Shop ($25) are also welcome.
For more information about Homeless Prevention Council and how to help the Adopt a Family program, visit hpccapecod.org/adopt-a-family
“We don’t turn anybody away,” Karber said of the demand. “Because we know that situations change, so we never say no.”