The Adopt-A-Family Program, started in 1997, is a San Mateo County effort designed to help low income families make the transition to self-sufficiency by preventing them from becoming destitute, not just during the holiday season, but all year round. To date, over 200 families have been "adopted" or assisted in some manner.
What makes this program unique? Working closely with various nonprofit organizations and numerous departments of San Mateo County, Adopt-A-Family receives confidential profiles of families in need and a list of items they hope to acquire through the program.
To be eligible for the Adopt-A-Family Program, applicants must live in San Mateo County, be pre-screened by the social services agency referring them, and be willing to meet their "Godparents" or sponsors. After a family has qualified, a social worker assists he family in determining its "Wish List" of items needed.
These "Wish Lists" typically include: food, sheets, blankets, pillows, clothing and shoes, furniture, diapers, diapers, toys, small appliances, kitchen and bath accessories, soap, books, and transportation passes.
Individual or business "Godparents" provide most of the family's "Wish List" through donations by either cleaning out their own closets and garages at home or by urging their family and friends to do the same. Many people have items in good or new condition that they are not using.
Godparents also give emotional support to the family by recognizing special occasions, such as birthdays and graduations, with a card, phone call or a gift (if able). In other words, godparents are encouraged to become part of the family and join in celebrations in order to give moral support.
The program heightens awareness for people who take what they have in their own lives for granted. It also inspires low-income families to try to improve their lives because they are amazed that so many people care about them and are willing to contribute to get them on the road to success. For more information, contact Al Teglia at 650-301-8444.