COLUMBIA — I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Ron Schmidt, program director of the Voluntary Action Center. Talking to him reminded me of the fun my husband and I had participating in the Adopt a Family for Christmas program. I truly recommend adopting a family for anyone.
According to Mr. Schmidt, 1,200 local needy families are helped by over 600 sponsors. I can speak from experience when I say you can enjoy being a sponsor. It is fun to give to a child or family in need. As a group or family project, the experience can be a time of teaching or simply of bonding together. When you Adopt a Family, the gifts go directly to local people. Only Boone County residents are eligible to be “adopted.” The gift you give a child may be the only holiday gift they receive. There are not many opportunities to directly help someone this way.
The other wonderful thing about Adopting a Family for the holidays is the ease of participation. The first thing you need to do is call the Voluntary Action Center at 573-874-2273 and sign up. Once you call, you will have the opportunity to pick the family size you would like to sponsor. Family sizes range from one to 10 or more people. Once you are signed up, you will receive information about the family you are sponsoring in the mail. This gives you an idea of clothing sizes or personal preferences for gifts. You may be surprised by the modest gifts that are requested.
It doesn’t need to be a large financial commitment to help. Holiday gifts for a child are easily purchased for $50. Holiday food for each family member is only $10 to $15. You don’t even need any special wrapping or cards. Whatever you have on hand will work. Consider calling the Voluntary Action Center today. It doesn’t take much to make a big difference to a family this holiday season.
Erin Blaise is a Columbia resident.