How to 'adopt' a family

Posted: Thursday, December 21, 2000

There are two Adopt-A-Family programs in Juneau, one that's anonymous and another that tries to connect residents more directly.

Families are "adopted" by other families and organizations, which take care of their food and gift needs for Christmas. About 100 families signed up for assistance through St. Vincent de Paul.

"We never have enough sponsors to meet the demand," St. Vincent manager Dan Austin said.

"Adoptees" can pick up their food and gifts at the center on Teal Street, but about 70 percent agree to meet their sponsors.

"We respect everybody's privacy, but we ask families if they would allow the sponsors to drop off gifts personally," Austin said. "Our mission is about helping others, but it's also about connecting people through one-on-one contact."

The Salvation Army program starts with sponsors looking for needy families. This year all 35 requests were filled through a confidential process.

"We have done this for years and years, and found it's best to handle it this way," Major Larry Fankhauser. "The companies, groups and individuals who sponsor are very understanding and trust our ability to choose families that are deserving."

Both programs seem to work.

St. Vincent de Paul also has a Santa's Toy Shop program. The shop, located in Smith Hall, will be open 4-6 p.m. on Friday

"It's for last-minute emergencies," Austin said. "We want to make sure no kid goes without Christmas gifts."

For details, call St. Vincent de Paul at 789-5535 or the Salvation Army at 586-2136.

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