Last year, my family and I decided to participate in FSH’s Adopt-a-Family program. Being a recent college graduate, living at home and completely out of touch with the true cost of living, the experience had a huge impact on me and how I view the little things, basic needs like socks and body wash. Items I had never in my life had to do without.
We were matched with a family of 3, a mother with 2 little girls. One was over a year old and the other was just a few months old. The list we were given wasn’t full of toys and treats for both the children and their mother, but was asked for clothing, a winter coat and diapers – all things that families need but are costly.
As we started shopping, I was amazed how fast prices added up… a few outfits for each of the girls, socks, underwear and bibs. The total was growing faster than I could have imagined. I wanted to get the girls toys and games – the kinds of things I had always gotten for Christmas – but those weren’t priorities on their wish list.
Then we started shopping for mom… There was nothing on her list besides socks. Socks. All she wanted for herself was a few pairs of socks. I couldn’t imagine asking for that for Christmas. Most of us view Christmas as a time to ask for things we want but wouldn’t necessarily buy for ourselves. Luxury items, frills and extras that we don’t need but really want, things we could absolutely live without. This is not the case for the families at Family Scholar House; all they want is to have their basic needs met.
After we collected all of the essentials from the list we went to find something that would make everyone happy, a few toys for the girls, things that they could play and learn with. Some puzzles and a stuffed animal for each. A stuffed animal – something that I had dozens of as a child, something I never even considered the cost of. A set of lotions and body washes for their mom, a pair of yoga pants. Things we buy regularly and have in excess.
It felt good to be a part of this – to help a mother give her kids a special Christmas and keep the idea of Santa Claus alive. And helping ease the concern of where diapers or long pants might come from, at least for a little while.
It was a very emotional and gratifying experience, getting to help out a family that has so little but is so grateful for it all. Yes, we spent money, but it was so much more than that. We got to help and care about this family, give them a moment of peace and joy, what the holidays are all about. I encourage everyone to adopt a family at least once. The experience is worth far more than any money that is spent. It helps you feel connected to someone else and remember what you have to be grateful for. As corny as it may sound, it brings the spirit of Christmas to life.
– Biz Vincenti, FSH volunteer and PR Committee member
To learn more about Family Scholar House’s Adopt-a-Family program, please contact Stephanie Rowe at firstname.lastname@example.org.