Project Self--Sufficiency has been in existence helping low-income
single parents of minors since 1985. The program assists families in
covering everything from child care to college tuition costs. The age of
the parents involved ranges from 24 to 45.
"We have some young single moms that have ended up on welfare or in
bad situations and we also have people that have gotten a bit older and
realized that it's time to turn their lives around," Project
Self-Sufficiency Director Susan Edwards said.
Of the 100 families involved, about 90 of them will participate in the
Thanksgiving Adopt-A-Family program. The number of volunteers totals more
"The community really gets behind this program, and it really helps
make Thanksgiving special," Edwards said.
Cub Scout troops, corporate businesses, small businesses, gardening
clubs and individuals are just some of the groups involved with the
program. Edwards finds the volunteers through flyers and advertisements
as well as through a newsletter she sends out before the holiday season.
The program has grown exponentially since its beginning.
"It's just me and one other person, so we're about as busy as we can
be right now," Edwards said.
Edwards will match the volunteers with the families and the volunteers
will usually send the families a letter asking them what type of
assistance they could use for the holiday. Often times large groups will
pitch in and provide a number of different grocery-store items in
addition to the traditional Thanksgiving-day trappings.
"Once the two groups get in touch with each other they will figure out
when a convenient time to drop off the goods is," Edwards said.
Edwards does not encourage the volunteers to invite the families to
their homes for dinner.
"I think it's great if they meet each other and establish a type of
rapport, but having the meal together can be an invasion of privacy,"
Not all the families and volunteers end up meeting. Some groups prefer
to send the families gift certificates or flat sums to do with what they
Since it's inception Edwards has not had a single exchange backfire.
"I've asked people not to participate after talking to them on the
phone, but I think that's only happened twice," she said. "It's been a
very successful program."
So successful that there are similar programs related to Christmas and
"I've been involved for about three years and we adopt different
families for all the different holidays," volunteer Bridget O'Neil said.
"We like to call the families and find out where they shop and then give
them a gift certificate to use there."
Edwards also stressed that although the holiday season is a great time
to donate nonperishable items, there are families in need throughout the
year. Project Self-Sufficiency's food pantry accepts donations year
Project Self-Sufficiency's Adopt-A--Family program. A program designed
to help single-parent low-income families with Thanksgiving. Information: