Instead of waiting in long lines or spending countless hours browsing Amazon’s website for that “perfect gift” for your family or friend, try a more unconventional gift giving approach. Scrap the gifts for each other, and give to others.
For example, Goodyear employes adopt families from Greenlead Family Center. They are clients of from all of the center’s departments, said Dina Younis, fund development and marketing coordinator at Greenleaf Family Center. Goodyear delivers the wrapped gifts which are distributed to the families.
“It’s a wonderful tradition and both GFC and the clients deeply appreciate it. This year, Goodyear adopted 61 families,” said Younis. “We had some families left over so 12 families were adopted by staff and one was adopted by the United Way Women’s Leadership Council. One of our staff members organizes an event with the civic group she belongs to and they adopt several families.”
There are a number of nonprofits in the area who are collecting items for individuals, families and children. Thanks to United Way of Summit County, here is a quick guide to who needs what in Akron and how you can help.
ACCESS Inc. According to the website, the women’s shelter is looking for individuals or groups who are willing to sponsor a family in need and provide them with Christmas presents for all of the individuals in a family. The families supported are all former ACCESS residents that, although they now have housing, do not have the resources to provide their families with presents on Christmas morning. There is an application process to become a sponsor. Sponsors will need to plan on spending around $50 per family member.
Battered Women’s Shelter: Families who are living in any of the shelter programs or families who have recently left their abusive home environments are eligible to be “adopted” during the holidays. BWS will provide you with first names, sizes and gift ideas. This is a confidential program, you will NOT be able to meet your family. (this is out of respect for the families in difficult life positions).
Child Guidance & Family Solutions: Seeking volunteers to Adopt-a-Family for the holiday. If you, your company or group would like to help a family for the Holidays, they will provide you with first names of all family members, ages, gender, sizes and any specific needs or wants. They ask that you purchase gifts for each family member, wrap them with their name on the package and deliver them to the agency by December 18th.
Freedom House for Women: Seeking volunteer individuals, families, or groups to adopt-a-family(s) for the holiday. Volunteers will be provided a “wish list” for the family(s). Gifts should be delivered to agency by December 19.
Mental Health America of Summit County: Seeking volunteer individuals, groups, or families to Adopt-a-Family for the holidays. There 5 families in need this season. Specific information regarding sizes and gift ideas will be provided to the “Adopting” individual/family/group. Items should be wrapped and labeled and delivered to Mental Health America of Summit County by December 10.
National Multiple Sclerosis Society Ohio Buckeye Chapter: The chapter invites you, as well as your family and friends, to join in spreading some Holiday cheer this December. Candy’s Compassionate Companions provides small gifts and more importantly visits to individuals with MS, who are socially isolated, going through tough times, or who are residents of nursing homes. Volunteers are vital to the success of this program as the chapter will again be visiting more 600 people with MS. Minimum age: 18.
South Street Ministries: Adopt a Child for the Holidays. Provide two gifts for a child living in the Summit Lake neighborhood. Instructions and gift ideas will be provided to donor.
Summit County Children Services: Imagine being in need, but wanting to provide a happy Holiday morning for the children in your care. Summit County Children Services’ clients who are recommended by their social workers can select new, donated toys from an entire Holiday Toy Room, thanks to the generosity of community donors like you. The social work staff recommends grandparents and other caregivers who need assistance at the Holidays, and donors provide new, reasonably priced toys which will be displayed in our Holiday Toy Room.
For more information on how to get involved with holiday gift giving or volunteering, visit http://www.uwsummit.org/Vol_Center/volunteer_opportunities.htm.