Archive for Monday, December 8, 2008

A Christmas wish: More donors to adopt families

December 8, 2008


Holiday Bureau

Ballard Community Services708 Elm St.842-0729

Penn House1035 Pa.842-0440

Douglas County Senior Services745 Vt.842-0543

ECKAN2518 Ridge Court841-3357

Salvation Army946 N.H.843-4188

Single parent Ronda Wisdom and her two sons are looking forward to Christmas. She’s hoping the boys will have gifts to open that morning, but knows that there is a possibility that there won’t be any under the Christmas tree.

“Christmases can be kind of tricky because we do have a limited income,” said Wisdom, a Lawrence resident.

The Wisdoms are waiting to find out whether they were adopted through the Holiday Bureau’s Adopt-A-Family Program. They’ve been adopted for the last seven or eight holiday seasons, Wisdom said.

The Holiday Bureau consists of five Lawrence social service agencies that use the same application process: Salvation Army, Douglas County Senior Services, Ballard Community Center, Penn House and East Central Kansas Economic Opportunity Corporation, also known as ECKAN.

Some of the Holiday Bureau agencies and Haskell Indian Nations University’s Adopt a Haskell Rascal program are still looking for donors to adopt families.

ECKAN’s Douglas County coordinator, Jeanette Collier, said she has seen a drop in the number of donors this year.

“We had sent out 42 donor letters to regular donors and only seven of them have responded at this time,” Collier said Wednesday afternoon.

She’s worried because she still has 20 families that need to be matched with donors through ECKAN and gifts are supposed to be given to families in about a week.

“It concerns me because we’ve always had every family adopted over the last five years,” Collier said.

More demand than supply

ECKAN has between 20 and 25 families waiting to be adopted. Collier also has a waiting list of 150 families whose applications she couldn’t accept because not enough donors had signed up. Donors are usually local businesses, churches and private donors. The Holiday Bureau asks donors to supply adopted families with a holiday meal, clothing, and at least one item from the wish list for each household member. Donors and adopted families never meet and identities are kept confidential.

Both Collier and Wisdom believe that dealing with recent economic hardship has caused some regular donors to not adopt a family this holiday season.

“Things have really been rough on everyone, so I imagine it’s going to severely affect the programs that are seeking help from the community,” Wisdom said.

If ECKAN cannot match all of the families with donors, Collier would have to contact the applicants and let them know that they will not receive assistance. To not have all families matched would be “very disturbing” to her.

“I am aware that these are families who are significantly in need,” she said. “Many of my households have requested nothing more than extra food or extra clothing. We know that parents get very stressed out at this point in time when they can’t give to their children, so the Holiday Bureau is really a means for all families to be able to participate in our community.”

For the children

Wisdom applied for the program through Ballard Community Services and wishes she didn’t have to seek help.

“It’s kind of hard to have to do, but when you have no choice and your kids are still young enough where they’re going to be crushed come Christmas morning if there’s nothing there, it’s kind of just something that has to be done,” she said.

Her sons each put two toys on their family’s wish list, but what Wisdon really wants is gift cards. She calls them the “gift of peace of mind.”

“They can go toward anything,” she said. “It can go from paper goods to food to just really anything.”

Collier hopes that the spirit of Christmas will inspire people to step up and help others.

“My experience with the Lawrence community is that people are very generous,” she said. “Once they are aware of the need, once they know where they can donate and what is involved, they also come forward and they help us out.”


GSWtotheheart 9 years, 6 months ago

C'mon Lawrence, you can help. Even if you can't adopt a family, send gift cards or even just $10-20 to one of these social service agencies.

countrygirl 9 years, 6 months ago

ECKAN's had a tough time just keeping their food pantry stocked. I know things are tough for a lot of people, but there are some of us who could spare $10. Think about the true meaning of Christmas and share it with an organization like this.

cybermaiden 9 years, 6 months ago

We have absolutely no money for Christmas this year. My children are old enough to understand Mom and Dad are actually Santa but it is still depressing that there will be no gifts under the tree. I can't imagine how difficult this must be for parents with smaller children who are oblivious to financial issues. I rarely watch television during the holidays. The commericials bombarding me with "Buy, Buy, Buy and feel joy, peace and love" break my heart.So this year we are attempting to re-learn Christmas. We will be spending our Christmas playing board games and spending some quality time together as a family being thankful we have each other. Please give to the foundations if you have a little extra...For the little ones who still believe Santa is coming.

countrygirl 9 years, 6 months ago

My 9 year old son and I have a date to watch the Charlie Brown Christmas on ABC tonight. That's one Christmas show that gets it right.

TongieMom 9 years, 6 months ago

Our team at work has adopted a family every year for the past few years. It's hard to adopt an entire family, but spreading it across several people allows us to be able to do this on a yearly basis and keeps it affordable ($10-$20 per person avg).

momof4 9 years, 6 months ago

Ok, maybe I'm being a hard a**, but being adopted for the last seven or eight holiday seasons seems a little much to me. I would think after that long, she would have gotten back on her feet. I always thought this was a program for helping people in the short term, not supplying their Christmas year after year. Does Ms. Wisdom just assume some kind hearted soul will take care of her family every year?We have gone together with friends and adopted families in the past, but I'm rethinking it this year, I really had no idea they were serving the same families over and over again.

countrygirl 9 years, 6 months ago

Some single parent households just can't do it without some help. Every dime the parent makes goes to pay bills and put food on the table. So in order for their kids to have some Christmas, they ask for a little assistance. By the way, the number of requests is WAY up this year. Lots more people struggling but still want to try to see that their kids get a little something under the tree. Where would you turn if you couldn't afford Christmas?

coolmarv 9 years, 6 months ago

momof4Not that Ms. Wisdom is doing anything wrong by continuing to ask for assistance but please do not let the actions of a few discourage you. Even if four out of five are not worthy it is the one that is that makes giving worth while. I accept that many people put themselves in a bad way but we have to keep plugging away. Give! Give! Give!"it is in giving that we receive".

planetwax 9 years, 6 months ago

How about "Help-A-Family". Adoption is forever and my daughter and other adoptees get the wrong message about permanence when we throw words around like adopt-A-____.

bearded_gnome 9 years, 6 months ago

momof4,We have gone together with friends and adopted families in the past, but I'm rethinking it this year, I really had no idea they were serving the same familiesover and over again.please take care as you rethink. some people have disabilities, and cannot just get out of trouble on their own. others have children with disabilities, upping costs all over the place. not much is told about this single mom in the article, please don't jump to conclusions. God bless us, everyone.

TongieMom 9 years, 6 months ago

There are people who abuse the system (not that this particular woman is), but that is the case with ANY service (from social service programs to customer service return policies). However, there is a lot of true need from families...especially this year. Families who normally make ends meet but something came up (medical bills, car repair bills, etc) that is putting a crunch on them this season, families who had a spouse lose a job, etc.If you don't feel comfortable adopting a family, perhaps you can donate the money you would have spent toward groceries for a food pantry or give the gift of time in one of these organizations.

mom_of_three 9 years, 6 months ago

The Christmas funds for everyone are a little more strapped this year, but I felt it was important to donate to a family again this year. The decrease in gas prices helped my budget out a lot, and that extra $2 a gallon in gas I am not having to pay is paying for my adopt a family.

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