Sonora, CA – Even as we busily prep for Thanksgiving, a critical deadline is looming for struggling local families to receive Christmas cheer.
For the past several years, a grassroots Adopt-A-Family program has matched Tuolumne County families with one to six kids or grandkids and donors who want to share some holiday spirit, basing assignments on their desired level of giving.
Supported by Amador Tuolumne Community Action Agency (ATCAA) staff and volunteers of the ATCAA-run Tuolumne County Homeless Shelter, who realize the ongoing need, this year’s effort is running a bit behind in signing up families for “adoption.” So Clarke Broadcasting is hoping to help ATCAA spread the word that the last day to sign up is Wednesday Nov. 21 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., according to ATCAA shelter coordinator Chris Nevis.
Encouraging Families In Need To Sign Up
He and his ATCAA colleagues muse that with the travesty of Butte’ County’s Camp Fire and massive community assistance outreach efforts underway that folks are not locally wanting to reach out for their own support, even if they, themselves are facing tough holidays ahead. So far, he says, “We have roughly about 80 families, kind of a low figure. Last year we did 137 families and 350 gifts – a record — so we are trying to get the word out as our average [participation of adoptee families] number is about 115 to 120.”
For parents or grandparents to participate, Nevis states that the child or children in their family must be 17 years old or younger. While there is no maximum income limit, the program’s goal is to help low-income or otherwise financially struggling families. The only catch for families who may have participated before is that they can sign up for a maximum of two years in a row.
ATCAA spokesperson Kristy Moore adds, “We are looking for people that maybe don’t yet know about this program and don’t know that they can participate.” She emphasizes that folks who want to sign up their family – and those who may know of a family that meets the criteria and is interested – should contact Nevis by 2 p.m. at 209 694-8698.
Ways To Sign Up And Help Out
Moore says for a few weeks yet registration remains open for individual donors, groups, businesses, and organizations to sign up and adopt a family. To do so, call the above number and you will be matched with a family and provided ages and other details to help you shop. You will then receive a date, place and time to drop off your gifts.
Longtime participants, she shares, include Black Oak Casino Resort employees, who have been involved from the program’s very beginning. “This year they have so far adopted 35 families,” she reports. “Sonora and Summerville high schools have currently signed up for 15 families…and have adopted 12 so far — as have the Vietnam Veterans.”
For those who would like to contribute in some way without adopting a family, Moore says there are three toy drives that supply some of the gifts given to the families.
The first is the CAL Fire Toy Drive, whose next event is Dec. 2 at the Sonora Walmart from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. The Back Country Horsemen will also be collecting them during their Dec. 9 parade in Columbia from 10 a.m. until noon. JW West Propane is additionally accepting toys and children’s clothing items now through Dec. 10 at its main office at 564 W. Stockton St. Note: items donated through these efforts should be new and remain unwrapped.