By Bonnie Horgos
Santa Cruz Sentinel
SANTA CRUZ — Volunteers are needed for Adopt-A-Family, a Santa Cruz County project that gives struggling families a few basic gifts during the holidays.
The 21-year-old tradition run by the Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County started earlier this month and will run through Dec. 16. More than 400 families have signed up for the service, and only about 120 have been helped so far.
Many of the families are unable to feed their kids during the holidays, let alone a Christmas tree and presents. Some families ask for basic toiletries, said Lois Connell, associate director of the Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County.
Families will submit requests to be part of the drive, and the stories are often heart-wrenching, Connell said.
“I had volunteers come and help me proofread the forms, and I had three volunteers crying the entire time because the situations were so sad,” Connell said.
To become a part of the project, volunteers can call the adoption phone line to select a family. And you don’t have to dig deep into your pockets to help a few people out.
Donations to the chosen families can include food gift certificates, clothing for children and adults, a small toy for each child and household items such as blankets, towels or sheets.
Ultimately, the holidays are about giving, Connell said, and by signing up, you can easily add the magic back into the lives of those who need it most: children.