Christmas is traditionally perceived to be a time filled with family, love and joy. On Christmas morning, children everywhere wake up with wide eyes and excited hearts. They run out of their rooms, wake up their families, and rush downstairs to bountiful amounts of presents under a decorated Christmas tree. Parents joyously watch as their little ones unwrap their presents from Santa and then spend the day playing with their new toys. It’s a perfect Christmas day.
But unfortunately, not every family gets to experience a Christmas like that.
Census figures released in 2013 found that 46.5 million American families are currently living in poverty in the United States. These families struggle to pay for their bills and for their basic life necessities, and around the holidays they add presents to the list of things they struggle to pay for. The reality is that some parents have no way of affording gifts for their children, and some kids will wake up on Christmas morning to no presents under the tree and nothing in their stockings.
Luckily, Christmas is also a time filled with generosity and giving, and thanks to a special program in the Niagara Falls area, some families living in poverty will be able to have the Christmas that everyone deserves.
This special program is called the Adopt-A-Family program and PRSSN was more than willing to participate in it during this holiday season. Adopt-A-Family is a program run by Summit Life Center, a non-profit organization located in Niagara Falls that dedicates themselves to educating and supporting women in the case of an unexpected pregnancy.
Here’s how the program works: all of the families involved in the Adopt-A-Family program are also enrolled in the Earn While You Learn program. This program rewards parents with gently used clothes, toys, and necessities for learning essential parenting lessons through educational videos and worksheets. The parents involved in the Adopt-A-Family program are often the victims of poverty and the program ensures that they have a happy holiday.
“It really is such a blessing to the families,” said Barb Bidak, the executive director of the summit life center. “We know these mothers. We know their struggles and we know what they need. This program makes it possible for them to provide their kids with a Christmas that they deserve.”
The people that donate to the Adopt-A-Family program donate everything from brand new clothes and toys for the children to household supplies and necessities for the parents. They also typically donate wrapping paper so that the parents themselves can wrap the presents and put them under the tree for their children.
“It helps the parents to feel involved during the holiday season,” said Bidak.
The Summit Life Center has been running since 2005, but the Adopt-A-Family program is fairly new. The program started in 2013 and has helped a plethora of families since its opening, including over 40 families alone this holiday season.
The holiday season is a time for family, love, and joy. The Summit Life Center’s Adopt-A-Family program makes a special holiday possible for many families in the Niagara Falls area. Donating to the Adopt-A-Family program gives one more family the perfect Christmas that they deserve.
–Alecia Lutrario, PRSSN