Adopt-A-Family gift distribution to take place Dec. 17
Donations are currently being accepted to assist families unable, in many cases, to afford even basic necessities, much less Christmas gifts. In addition to warm clothing, food, school supplies and beds, this year's "most desired items" list includes blankets, toiletries, cleaning supplies, shoes, etc., especially in children’s sizes 2T to 16.
“And let’s not forget the wish list of the children for toys, including board games, bikes, dolls, hot wheels --- the list goes on and on,” said Lydia Gamboa, Adopt-A-Family program coordinator.
“A number of families are facing the difficulties of being laid off from jobs or hours cut,” added Gamboa, who along with 20 volunteers interviews prospective recipients, a process that begins in late August each year.
“It’s so sad to hear parents asking for blankets or warm clothes to keep their children warm for the upcoming winter. This year we have heard stories of families behind in rent and utilities and telling us they hope things get better for them in 2012 as this year has been so very hard.”
Adopt-A-Family is seeking financial donations, said Gamboa, and offers a variety of "sponsorship" opportunities, in which donors may finance basic needs, sponsor individual families, or underwrite a "gift box" that includes two weeks’ worth of food, practical hygiene and cleaning supplies, blankets, clothing and special presents for each member of the family.
Also needed are volunteers for the Dec. 17 delivery day who have large vehicles and trucks to deliver gifts to the recipient families who live in or near downtown Los Angeles. Volunteers gather for distribution at 7 a.m., starting with a prayer service at the Cathedral, led by Archbishop José Gomez, who will then join the volunteers in the delivery of the gifts.
Msgr. Terrance Fleming, director of the Adopt-A-Family Program since 1990, has always stated that his goal was to provide “a magical Christmas” for children living in the downtown and skid row area of Los Angeles.
“Seeing the faces of the children as the volunteers knock at their doors, we know that his goal has been met,” said Gamboa, also involved since the program’s inception.
“As Christians,” she continued, “we are called to bring hope to the hopeless. We are called to shine Christ’s light into the darkness. The Adopt-A-Family Program was created in response to this call. Through the sacrifices of children and adults alike, the program has brought hope, through the Light of Christ, to families struggling to survive in our city’s darkest streets.”
In the coming weeks, The Tidings will feature profiles of families in need. For information on how to assist, call (213) 637-7501 or visit www.olacathedral.org and click on the Adopt-A-Family link. Donations can be sent to: Adopt-A-Family, 3424 Wilshire Blvd., 3rd Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90010; please make checks payable to Adopt-A-Family.
Prayer of the MonthPapal intentions for November: That priests who experience difficulties may find comfort in their suffering, support in their doubts, and confirmation in their fidelity. That as fruit of the continental mission, Latin American Churches may send missionaries to other Churches.
Papal intentions for December: That children who are victims of abandonment or violence may find the love and protection they need. That Christians, enlightened by the Word incarnate, may prepare humanity for the Savior's coming.