Project Self-Sufficiency, a program that helps single-parent
families, asks those who can to "adopt" a family in need at the
holidays to spread the cheer. They are looking for volunteers to help
families this Thanksgiving.
Persons or families can adopt a family, to give them a good
holiday meal."It's really providing a gift basket or gift food
coupons," said Susan Edwards, director of Project Self Sufficiency.
The program has been going on for the past 15 years and it has
been very successful, she said. Edwards has developed a list of
families whom she adopts out at the holidays.
"[People] like it, which is why almost all my Christmas families
are gone. People start calling in October or September," she said.
Volunteers who take part in the program talk with the family that
they are adopting and ask them what they would like or need, they
then deliver the basket themselves, Edwards said.
"It's very personal," she added.
Another organization that is helping feed families this
Thanksgiving, is Builders of Faith. The Huntington Beach-based
nonprofit corporation helps feed the homeless and assists families
that have financial difficulties.
Builders of Faith works with more than a dozen churches in the
city to help feed families.
"What we'll do is we'll provide Thanksgiving items for a
Thanksgiving meal," said Mary Reardon, a former Builders of Faith
Churches and private persons have been donating time and money to
the program for the past 14 years, she said.
Many local churches, such as Faith Lutheran Church and St.
Bonaventure Catholic Church, hold food drives and give out gift
baskets at the holidays.
St. Bonaventure is accepting donations of both food and money to
put together gift baskets for families, many of which will be
delivered to the Oak View Community Center on Monday.
The city's Senior Outreach Center, which offers help and support
to seniors throughout the year, makes a special, concentrated effort
at the holidays.
Every morning volunteers eagerly prepare meals for delivery to
homebound seniors. The Meals to the Home program provides meals five
days a week to seniors who are unable to shop and cook for
"It's very rewarding," said Ida Dollinger, an 86-year-old
Huntington Beach resident. "You're helping people that can't get
But at the holidays, the outreach center has a special need for
volunteers, said Diane Swarts, volunteers services coordinator at the
Many families like to help deliver food to homebound seniors as a
family during the holidays, she said.
Rather than volunteering individually, families often look for
ways that they can volunteer together, she said. Both parents often
work and they focus most of their attention on their children.
This had led to a decline in volunteerism, she said.
"People are just very, very busy," Swarts added.
With Thanksgiving nearly here and Christmas just around the
corner, there are many opportunities to begin volunteering and change
the downward trend, Swarts said.