The Salvation Army accepts applications for families and seniors in need during the holidays. They then match up these families with sponsors. Once you sign up to be a sponsor for the program, the Salvation Army gives you information about the family. We receive their contact information, their address to deliver to and information about the children, such as sex, age, size, and a toy suggestion.
As a sponsor, we are asked to provide the family with a holiday meal. The suggested meal includes: turkey or ham, potatoes, noodles, vegetables, canned gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce, rolls, pie filling, pie crust. Along with a meal we are also asked to provide a toy, an outfit, a hat, and gloves for each child in the family. We usually adopt a family with 1-3 children. We also provide the family with food items to make a holiday breakfast. This is not required by the Salvation Army, but Christmas morning breakfast has always been a tradition for our family and we wanted to include this in their box. I usually include eggs, bacon, breakfast rolls, and orange juice.I look forward every year to receiving the information about the children, because I find it so much fun to shop for them. I do the majority of the food shopping in these two weeks before Thanksgiving, because the grocery stores have such incredible deals on the holiday meal items. Although the holiday food specials at the store usually run through Christmas. My grocery store has a FREE turkey program that runs for about 4 weeks in October and November where you can earn a FREE turkey by spending a certain amount of money during the time frame. I buy the perishables, like the potatoes, right before I deliver to the family. We are asked to deliver the gift box to the family by December 22.
I scout the best deals on the toys and clothes starting Black Friday. I don't get out on that morning, but my husband thrives on that activity and I just hand him my list.
After the first year, we were so moved by the program that we now also 'Adopt-A-Senior'. The only requirement with this program is supplying the above list of ingredients to make a holiday meal. I also include breakfast items for the senior as well.
I keep all of my correspondence from the Salvation Army and all of my receipts for tax deduction purposes. The Salvation Army is a non-profit organization. Check with your tax preparer to see if the deduction makes sense for you. Please note, that we don't participate with this program just for the tax deduction.
This is the first year that our oldest will probably understand what we are doing and why we are doing it. She has watched us buy and deliver the goods in the past, but I am hoping this year will have a greater impact on her. We want our children to understand just how blessed we are as a family. We take our meals, clothes and toys for granted. There are so many families in need. Unfortunately the need is year round.
I have kept the thank you cards that I have received over the years. The sponsored families do not receive any information about our family. All correspondence from them comes through the Salvation Army. I am touched by these families and I am so glad that we are able to provide them with a meal and hopefully some wonderful holiday memories.
Do you use your frugal skills to help others in need during the holidays?
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