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Christmas generosity needed at St. Vincent Adopt-A-Family

Volunteer organizer says only a quarter of families have been adopted

Posted: December 17, 2012 - 4:49pm  |  Updated: December 18, 2012 - 1:03am

Little more than a week before Christmas, a volunteer organizer of the St. Vincent de Paul Society’s Adopt-A-Family Christmas Gift Program said Monday that just a quarter of the families in the program have been “adopted.”

“We only have 12 out of the 50 adopted, and we’re supposed to have that done by this Friday,” said Rena Sims.

Families in need can become part of St. Vincent’s Adopt-A-Family program, which seeks to have individuals or organizations “adopt” families by buying Christmas presents for their children, trying to fulfill kids’ individual wishlists as provided by each family, and donating the gifts through the Catholic charity.

“We take the needy families, families that have lost jobs or haven’t gotten a job or have lost someone in the family … some homeless people, due to the (Gastineau Apartments) fire that was downtown … just to make their Christmas a little bit lighter,” Sims said.

Donors can also drop off goods for families at St. Vincent’s Smith Hall, which is located at 8617 Teal Street, near Juneau International Airport.

Sims said that people who wish to donate should think of things that children and teenagers would want for Christmas: books, toys, electronics and other such items.

“We really limit it to the children in the families,” said Sims.

But items that would benefit the entire family, like Christmas lights, blankets, household supplies, food and gasoline, are also in demand, Sims added.

Gift cards are also accepted, as is money. If enough money is collected by Friday, Sims said, St. Vincent volunteers can take families that have not been adopted on shopping trips over the weekend.

Sims acknowledged the community support St. Vincent received for its Thanksgiving dinner baskets last month.

“They came through beautifully for Thanksgiving,” Sims said. “We fed more than 500 people.”

For Christmas, Sims is hoping for some of that same generosity again.

“We’re praying,” Sims said. “We’re standing by.”

• Contact reporter Mark D. Miller at 523-2279 or at mark.d.miller@juneauempire.com.

To get in touch with the St. Vincent de Paul Society about donating or adopting a family, call 789-5535 and dial extension number 7.

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