Outreach needs your help to spread joy at the holidays

Holiday planning at Outreach begins before Halloween, as we gear up for our busiest time of year.  2021 promises to be busier than ever, with many new families in need of assistance during this pandemic crisis. Here are some dates and information for those who wish to apply for assistance and for those with the ability to donate toward this popular program.

HOW TO APPLY

The Adopt-a-Family/Holiday Food Basket program has been running successfully at Outreach for many years. Enrollment in the program will run from November 1st -29th this year and is done in person, by appointment. Please call our office at 517-851-7285 to schedule. Applicants will be asked for proof of residency and income, and upon verification, a wish list for each member of the family will be taken.

A completed application enrolls a family in both Thanksgiving and Christmas Programs, although it is their choice. Some choose not to receive a Thanksgiving Basket if they are not preparing dinner at home, and others choose not to fill out a Christmas wish list and to receive food only. A normal caseload of holiday applications is about 100. That is: 100 Thanksgiving Food Baskets, 100 Christmas Food Baskets and 100 families’ wish lists to fill!

HOW TO DONATE

We receive many questions about what is needed during the holidays. THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IS THAT EVERY FAMILY BE ADOPTED! Families range in size from 1 to as many as 12, and donors can choose the size of family they are comfortable with, given their budget. A good rule of thumb is about $100 per adopted family member, but each donor must decide that for themselves, and some wish lists are only one or two items.

The most popular adoption request is for one with young children, but often, the most grateful family is one of adults who haven’t had a Christmas, or even new things, in years. They come in with tears in their eyes to thank us for the new coat or pair of shoes they received and are proudly wearing. Another request we often hear is that donors wish to serve “the neediest” family. Anyone contributing to this program should know that all applicants have been screened for residency and income. Any individual or family you adopt is a member of your community in need.

Shopping may present a challenge this year with limited supply and for those who are trying to stay home. Online shopping or giving a cash donation are great alternatives.

DONATING FOOD

Food is also needed for holiday baskets. All baskets are assembled at Outreach, so each family receives an identical variety of food. If you wish to help with this, holiday foods that are needed are: yams, cranberry sauce, potato flakes, gravy, turkeys, hams, canned pie fruit, canned pumpkin, canned vegetable and jello. Please let us know if you are doing a food drive (or any other kind of drive) so we can expect a donation from you! If you plan to donate to Thanksgiving, the deadline is 11/19, and for or Christmas, the deadline is 12/17.

This community truly cares for their neighbors. Outreach thanks the many organizations and individuals who have supported the holiday program in the past. The last two years, 100% of our families were adopted by the community. Outreach has always made sure that every family who applies receives gifts, and we are overwhelmed by the graciousness of this community that adopted EVERY family that applied. We know that with your help, we can meet this goal again in 2021. Please direct your questions and comments to: Gwen Reid at 517-851-7285.

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