For many years, my husband and I struggled with infertility. We desperately wanted to be parents, so when our oldest daughter was born 7 years ago, we were over-joyed…and maybe a bit overwhelmed.
Right after she was born, I read an article in the newspaper that tugged at my heart and my postpartum hormones. The local Salvation Army was looking for sponsors for their annual Adopt-a-Family Christmas program. Local families in need of assistance apply in the early fall to participate in the program. The sponsors are required to provide all of the ingredients for a holiday meal (turkey, potatoes, stuffing, gravy, vegetables, desserts, etc.) and they must purchase one toy, a shirt, a pair of pants, hat, and gloves per child in the family. The sponsor then delivers the gifts and food by mid-December to the family’s home.
That Christmas back in 2005, my husband and I were overwhelmed with gratitude for this beautiful baby girl that we waited 5 years for. We are Christians and while I don’t write a lot about my faith, I just knew that God was telling me to adopt a family that year. I couldn’t stop thinking about that article and when I went to my husband about it, he immediately said, “let’s do this.”
That first year, the family was a single mother whose infant son was born just a few days before our daughter. As new mothers, we bonded immediately and she was so appreciative of the food and gifts. She was recently unemployed and when we walked into her home, I could sense her urgency and relief for the food. She was going to have a full, warm meal to celebrate the holidays. Her mom was going to help her prepare the dinner and celebrate her son’s first Christmas with her.
Every year since 2005 we have adopted a family. In 2008, when our youngest was born, we started participating in the Adopt-a-Senior program where you just purchase the meal ingredients for local seniors in need.
I start shopping before Thanksgiving to take full advantage of the holiday sales for the food. I shop Black Friday for the clothes and toys and with the savings I’m able to add some extras that aren’t required, such as ingredients for a Christmas breakfast or some extra clothes or toys.
Christmas is a wonderful time of year for many families, but it also brings stress and sadness for others. Every time I have left the home that we sponsored I wished that I could have done more. There is so much need out there in our own backyards and these families are trying to make Christmas for their children special just like my husband and I want to do.
If you are able and if you feel your heart being tugged or God is calling you to serve, I urge you to call your local Salvation Army to see if they are in need of sponsors for their Adopt-a-Family or Adopt-a-Senior programs. You can determine the size of the family that you help. It is a beautiful program and a great opportunity to help a family in need in your community.