Archive for Monday, December 12, 2011

Adopt a Grandparent’ a tradition for duo

December 12, 2011


Interested in helping out?

The Adopt-a-Grandparent program is closed for the year, but the Ballard Center, in conjunction with several other area nonprofits, still needs people to adopt families for the holidays.

Diane Ensminger, director at Ballard, said 560 families have requested assistance this year, but so far, only about 200 have been adopted.

For more information, call 842-0729, or send an email to

It’s been a decades-long holiday tradition for Lawrence women Barbara Downing and Judith Scheff. For about 20 years, the duo have adopted a senior during the holidays as part of the Douglas County Senior Services “Adopt-a-Grandparent” program.

“They kind of get forgotten,” Downing said of local seniors in financial need. “There’s people who just don’t have anybody.”

Similar to the more well-known adopt-a-family programs, Downing and Scheff are given a shopping wish list for an area senior who fits the program’s low-income qualifications. Typically, the wish list includes simple, everyday products, such as cleaning supplies. This year, Downing said, they’ll be shopping for a toaster.

The program will serve about 120 seniors this year, said Janet Ikenberry, program coordinator. Adopters are asked to purchase at least one gift on the wish list, as well as a grocery gift card. While it varies by volunteer, Ikenberry said the commitment is about $100.

Ikenberry’s been coordinating the program for 19 years, and said the tough economic environment shows through.

The hot item on wish lists this year?

“Shoes,” Ikenberry said. “Which I think is kind of telling.


borntoplay 6 years, 5 months ago

Good for Judith and Barb. I have known them for years and never knew they did this. Bless you, Secret Ms. Santas!

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