Monday, November 16, 2009

Please God Don't Make Me Play You

We are fast approaching crunch time at Adopt-A-Family. This is the last week that the families can apply, and when we will put a big push on to attract people to get involved and help.

For the last six years we have been able to provide for every child in every family who qualified. That means an average of 2100 children got Christmas presents because of people in the community who wanted to do something for someone less fortunate.

Are we going to make it a seventh year? My gut is telling me no. When I made that announcement at a Board meeting last week, one of the Board members piped up with, "Sandy, you say that every year, and we always do it." As the saying goes, Brenda, from your mouth to God's ear. Please let me be wrong.

Over the twenty years that I've been part of this wonderful organization, first as donor, then volunteer, then Board member and now Program Coordinator, I have been asked WHY I do what I do. My answer is usually Because I can. Memories of my own happy Christmases as a child and now as a parent and grandparent motivate me to try to bring a bit of that to children in families who are struggling. And honestly I do it for me, too, because it feels good.

I have always said that AAF serves two distinct parts of the community. The first is obvious, the kids who probably wouldn't have much of a Christmas if it weren't for our program.

The second, probably less obvious to most, is the donors and volunteers who help us make this happen. During the week this all comes together our little board of sixteen members swells to include 150+ volunteers. That doesn't count the donors who provide for these 1000 families although most of our volunteers are also donors.

So when I say we serve the donors and volunteers I mean we give them a place and an opportunity to get involved. So many people want to do more than write a check. They want hands-on participation. And our volunteers love working with us every year. It's hard work but it's also fun and fulfilling.

But the reality is, we have 150 families without donors and I'm expecting at least that many more before the deadline to apply. So that's probably close to 700 kids. And the donors have dropped off dramatically, much earlier this year than usual. A sign of the poor economy, I'm sure.

Below is a photo of the applications from families yet to be matched with donors.


Before too long we will have to look at the applications from families without donors and decide who's in and who's out. Who will get a letter that says "we are very sorry but we can't help you this year." It's the part of the process I dislike most. It's when I feel like we are playing God.

I hope Brenda's right, and that we won't have to turn anyone away.

NOTE: For another personal view of Adopt-A-Family, go here to Rhea Powers' column in The Valley Breeze. And read about one of our volunteers here.

17 comments:

Melissa B. said...

What an informative post and a fascinating topic. I, for one, need to get up to speed on this. Thanks so much for sharing. SITS sent me by, and I'm glad they did!

Green Bay Win Over Dallas No Small Potatoes

Lee the Hot Flash Queen said...

I think it is wonderful what you are doing and so sad that families need to be turned away. If only it could be the other way around...

Cairo Typ0 said...

I'm so sad that you may not have enough donations this year to match up with your needy families. :( You do such amazing work with this organization.

DUTA said...

It's sad that there are so many people in need and that there will probably be more because of the gloomy economic situation.

Keep up your wonderful work for the needy!

Tammy Howard said...

Oh, Sandy, I hope so too!

Just Breathe said...

Sandy, would I send a donation to the P.O. box address?

Just Playin' said...

I support you in doing this good work. It is very admirable and I hope you meet your goals. Thanks for inspiring us.
Sandra

Pam said...

I hope your gut is wrong and that Rhea is right. I have a good feeling about this.

stepfabulous said...

I am with "Just Breath". As I live so far away, about the only thing I can do is send a check. Let us know where so we can help in our own little way, from distance.

Laoch of Chicago said...

That really is a fine program.

mama-face said...

You are a wonderful woman...it makes life sweeter to have a passion. I wish you the best; I know that our little town is struggling as well.

2 Toddlers and Me said...

Good luck. I hope it all works out. It's got to be stressful and difficult to want to do such a good thing but meet with such roadblocks.

Thanks for visiting my blog awhile back. I like yours, am now following and looking forward to reading more.

Ronnica said...

I love giving...it really is a benefit to the giver as well as the receiver.

Alyce said...

What a wonderful thing you are doing here! I hope that you are able to make your goals so that all families can be helped.

Quasi Serendipita said...

What a brilliant scheme. We had something similar when I was at school; each one of us gave up a present every Christmas and they were collected up and distributed amongst kids in the community who weren't as lucky as we were. I think it was a really important lesson to learn.

bettyl said...

I have always found that the American people are giving and come through in a pinch and, most of the time, just don't know how to help, so, you do a great service.
Sometimes, we just have to leave it to God--He can always do a better job than we can.
Good on you for what you do!

Mrsblogalot said...

I hope so also!!! You are doing an awesome thing!!!!!

 

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