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St. Vincent's still seeks adopters for local families

Posted: December 18, 2011 - 1:15am
From left, St. Vincent de Paul volunteer coordinators Rena Sims and Paula Sumdum sort gifts as part of the organization's annual Christmas Adopt-A-Family program, Saturday.  Emily Russo Miller / Juneau Empire
Emily Russo Miller / Juneau Empire
From left, St. Vincent de Paul volunteer coordinators Rena Sims and Paula Sumdum sort gifts as part of the organization's annual Christmas Adopt-A-Family program, Saturday.

Christmas is just one week away, and St. Vincent de Paul Society is still looking for generous Juneauites to “adopt a family” for the holidays.

One of the volunteer coordinators, Rena Sims, said 42 families have been successfully adopted so far, but 10 families are still in need. Those 10 families have a total of 26 children.

The Christmas Adopt-A-Family program hosted by the Catholic charitable organization is to ensure that every child in the community receives a present, a hot meal on Christmas day and adequate clothing for the winter weather.

Most of the families are low-income, single-parent families, Sims said, some with medical issues and some with fixed incomes. Others are going through a personal hardship or tragedy, like one man taking care of his three young children after his wife was recently medevaced out of town for medical problems, Sims said.

To adopt a family, one must commit to spend $50 to $75 on each child for one “need gift” like shoes, coats, gloves and sweatshirts and pants, and one “special gift,” like coloring books and toys, Sims said.

Sims will provide the donors with information about the family and each child, like their shoe and coat sizes.

Alternatively, those wishing to adopt a family can also donate the money, and Sims and other volunteers will do the shopping for them.

For those who want to give, but do not want to commit to adopting a family per se, Sims says St. Vincent de Paul would love to receive any financial donations to benefit the family in need, or to receive what she calls the “random stuff” gift donations for stocking stuffers. Those can be anything from soap to gift cards to trinkets to iPods, she said.

“Any of that would be very much appreciated,” she said.

Sims says the primary focus of the program is the children, but that any left over money would be used to purchase things for the family’s basic needs.

To adopt a family or for more information, call the St. Vincent de Paul office at 789-5535 Ext. 7, or visit svdpjuneau.org. Gift donations can be dropped off at St. Vincent de Paul office at 8617 Teal St.

The official deadline has already expired for those families looking to be adopted, but the organization considers making exceptions for emergency situations, Sims said. Those families should also call the number listed above.

St. Vincent de Paul is also looking for food donations to make Christmas dinner baskets to give to families. Any donations — pancakes, spam, apples and oranges and candy — would be appreciated, Sims said. The deadline to give food donations is Wednesday, Dec. 21.

Sims wanted to exclusively thank Channel Construction for donating 25 turkeys and potatoes for the food drive, and she thanked the Rotary Club in advance for their donations.

• Contact reporter Emily Russo Miller at 523-2263 or at emily.miller@juneauempire.com.

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