Thank you to everyone who helped with the Adopt-A-Family program this. You are very much appreciated!
There is a Santa Claus
We dropped off about 50 bags (giant garbage-bag sized) full of presents Wednesday morning plus about 25 food boxes and another 5 or so boxes of diapers and baby supplies. Our goal was to make sure that each of the 30 people we adopted (10 moms + 20 kids) will receive a new set of clothes (including new undies and socks), tops, bottoms, PJs, a coat and shoes. Each person also received a few “wish list” items which included everything from Power Rangers toys to books to basketballs and footballs. For the moms, we also included gift cards so they can do activities with their kids (go to the movies, etc.)
When we dropped off this morning, one of the primary staff members started crying … although we had talked back and forth for months, she really had no idea what to expect. Below are some of what she shared with us…
Many of these women have been to the bottom and are working very hard to come back up. They have seen and experienced the worst possible in their lives, and they have made a commitment to try to make their children’s lives better. These women have been abused, exploited and trafficked … and many have been homeless as they set about this path to a better life. (All of the families we were given are or will soon be in stable housing environments – but many of LifeWorks’ clients in this program live day-to-day.) Despite their best efforts to heal and move on, each day these women face continuing stigma, shame and judgment from those around them … even though they were just children themselves when the exploitation started. In the hierarchy of who gets help and services, this is a group that is often overlooked and falls through the cracks.
These women have rarely had a positive interaction with law enforcement, and their ability to trust anyone (case worker or others with authority) is difficult. Today’s delivery – made from the heart and without the judgment they so often feel – will mean the world to people who have almost nothing beyond their own will to survive and desire to protect their children. Your generosity will mean that they will be able to give their kids a Christmas like the kind that we often take for granted… and, in turn, hopefully start building that bridge for these families between desperation and normalcy.
This couldn’t have happened without some generous hearts. In addition to about 60 people within the FBI who donated money, items or food, the FBI Citizens Academy Alumni Association members donated another $1,350 to the effort. We spent every penny of that (plus some). We also had one alumni member “adopt” one of our recipients – buying everything on her wish list.
There are days when each of us is in a position to really make a positive difference in this world. If you contributed to this effort in any way, know that on this day you did just that… made a difference for 30 people who really needed your help. Feel free to go conquer the world again tomorrow.
Each year, the FBI and the Oregon Chapter of the FBICAAA team up to sponsor families during the holiday season. This year, the FBI has chosen about 30 women and their children from the New Options for Women (NOW) program at LifeWorks NW. (LifeWorks is one of the FBI’s biggest social service agency partners… and they often work together to help crime victims.)
We wanted to get this info out to you now – just in time for the crazy post-Thanksgiving shopping!
Most of the women who we are serving this year from the NOW program are survivors of domestic violence and/or the sex industry (exploitation through sex trafficking, strip clubs, etc.) Their children range in age from newborn to 16 years old.
Our goal is to provide each person (mom and kid) with a full, new set of clothes (tops, bottoms, coats, shoes, undies/socks, PJs) and a few “wish list” items.
How to participate
- Give money to the FBICAAA. These donations will be converted to gifts or food for these families.
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- If you wish to donate gifts, email Antonia at [hidden email]. She can help you select a mom/child who fits your wishes, and then she can get you the list of items that that person has requested.
- You can either arrange a time to drop off the gifts at the FBI office, or work with Antonia to have someone come pick up the gifts from you.
- The gifts can be wrapped or unwrapped. If wrapped, please put a sticky note on each box/bag. (The FBI will try to even out the type and number of gifts for siblings and fill in any gaps where it can). If you don’t wish to wrap, that is fine. The elves will do it later.
- Gifts are due to the FBI by Wednesday, December 14th.
- For a list of needs, refer to this PDF.
Each person has two tags (1 of 2 and 2 of 2). Thus, if you want to do all the gifts for one person you would need TWO tags. Saying that, the FBI has split each wish list into two parts to make it more affordable (with each tag’s value usually about $50-75). Antonia will help you select as many tags as you like.
If you can’t do a whole tag, feel free to split it with a friend or let Antonia know so the FBI can finish it off.
In addition to gifts, some families are requesting food. If you wish to give food instead of gifts, feel free to drop off non-perishable items such as peanut butter, canned goods, soups, rice, etc. Again, if you plan to do that, let Antonia know so the elves can use that in their planning.