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Children's foundation looking for a few good families

Adopt a family program helps both donors and families needing support
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The Children’s Foundation of Guelph and Wellington is putting a call out for help for over 200 families who are waiting to be matched with community donors for Christmas.

A giving experience they have seen can not only help the families receiving support, it can also provide the donor with great joy and sometimes even a learning experience.

The Children’s Foundation Adopt-A-Family Program supports families over the Holidays who are in a vulnerable situation.

This means that they have extenuating circumstances that make it very difficult to provide Christmas for their family. Families are referred by social service agencies/community partners.

The family situations vary greatly and can include domestic violence, a newly split family, a family going through an illness or job loss, a homeless youth, parents or grandparents that have taken over care for children in their extended family, and many more circumstances.

Even though these situations are different for each family, a moment of community support over the holidays can provide a boost of hope needed to launch a brighter new year.

Children are encouraged to dream and wish as it can be difficult for families living in poverty to dream or have future stories for themselves. Sometimes these wishes can cause judgment and the Foundation is hoping to use this opportunity to increase understanding and compassion for local families living in poverty.

The Foundation uses a program called Bridges out of Poverty to guide their work.

“What that has really taught me personally,is that those of us that live in middle-income situations have different mental models than those who live in poverty,” says Executive Director Glenna Banda. “It can be difficult for us to understand and can sometimes lead to judgment. I have been guilty of that in the past. We may not fully understand why the families are asking for what they are, but we believe in the impact this program can have.”

One past Adopt-A-Family referral included a youth who asked for a gaming system, which can be felt as to be too big of an ask at times. The Foundation found out that it was a terribly sad situation where the dad left the home, and him and his mom, in a very tough financial situation. The dad took his son’s gaming system with him when he went. Emotionally and financially, this was an extremely tough time. When this youth received a gaming system through Adopt-A-Family, it provided him moments of reprieve from his new reality and helped him escape for a few moments from the stress.

“These kids wish for all the same things as their friends and other kids do,” says Program Director Karyn Kirkwood. “We have been fortunate at this point in our program to meet donors who were once recipients of Adopt-A-Family years ago. Hearing them share the impact of the support and how they will always remember how much of a boost getting these special gifts was, is what keeps us committed to how our program operates as this is the outcome we strive for.”

These families are living in the stress or crisis of the moment, focused on making day-to-day decisions just to survive and get by. Something as simple as being able to treat yourself to a Tim Horton's coffee, thanks to a kind stranger, would help encourage a mom or dad through one of their darkest times.

If you can help support one of the remaining families and provide these moments of hope and encouragement, please visit the website to sign-up or call the Children’s Foundation Adopt-A-Family Team at 519-829-0855.