Sponsor-a-Family Holiday Program Seeking Donations

“Sponsor-a-Family” is the holiday program that provides food and gifts to low income families and seniors in Geauga County.

For more than 40 years, Geauga County Job and Family Services has coordinated the Sponsor-a-Family Program during the holiday season. When it first began, Sponsor-a-Family provided about 24 families with Christmas food baskets. Last year, 601 families from every geographic location in the county received help through the Sponsor-a-Family program. This included over 1,208 children who received toys and gifts. In addition, approximately 10,000 pounds of food was donated, sorted, packed, and delivered.

Low income families with children and foster children, and low income seniors are given first priority. Churches, civic groups, organizations, companies, and individuals participate by choosing to either “sponsor” a family for the holidays, or they can help us collect needed items which we pack and deliver to families not matched with a community sponsor.

Sponsor-a-Family is a unique program supported solely through donations and would not be possible without the generosity of community members. Volunteers are essential to the success of the program and spend time sorting food and gifts. Once the sorting is completed, bags of food for the families and gifts for the children are packed and delivered. Delivery day this year is December 18, 2013.

Regarding the program, one parent wrote,

“When I agreed to let a family help us though JFS, all I expected was a few toys for the kids and that would have been plenty. What we received was so much more than I ever dreamt. The generosity that was shown to us is something I will never be able to thank you for no matter how I try. The looks on their faces when they saw what was left for them, I will never forget. I thank God that there are people out there with hearts of gold. God bless you for what you did. Someday I hope to be able to help a family in need. Everybody falls on hard times and one shouldn’t be afraid or ashamed to accept help if they need it. That I learned. Again, God bless and may you always have peace and happiness in your life.” 

Suggested Donations for Sponsor a Family

Toys: We collect all toys for children, birth through teenage. This includes books, games, educational toys, puzzles, crafts, sports equipment, and video games. We do not accept or distribute any toy guns or violent video games.

Food: We collect non-perishable food to pass out to families along with the gifts. The food items most needed are:

  • Peanut butter
  • Jelly
  • Tuna fish
  • Macaroni and cheese
  • Pasta
  • Spaghetti sauce
  • Soup (including Chunky soup)
  • Box meals (like Hamburger Helper)
  • Canned fruit
  • Oatmeal
  • Cereal
  • Juice

Clothing: The clothing items we pass out for Christmas are coats, snow pants, boots, hooded sweatshirts, and flannel pajama pants. Sizes range from young children through adult sizes. We pass out hooded sweatshirts and pajama pants to all the teens so we need more of those sizes.

 Gift Cards: We pass out gift cards to teens so cards from stores like Kohls, Best Buy, Aeropostle, GAP, Bath and Body Works, JC Penney, Game Stop, Dicks Sporting Goods, Old Navy, etc. are really helpful. We also pass out grocery store gift cards as well as Get Go gift cards.

Monetary donations: Monetary donations are used to fill gaps and purchase items that were not donated or that we ran out of. This includes meat, grocery items, paper products, and gift cards. Checks must be made payable to SPECIAL SERVICES and may be mailed to P.O. Box 309, Chardon, Ohio 44024. Please include Sponsor a Family in the memo portion of the check.

*While we accept donations throughout the year of both new and gently used items, we ask that at Christmas time the items donated are new.

If you would like to make a donation, sponsor a family, volunteer time, or if you have any additional questions, please contact Sara Shininger at 440-285-9141 ext. 1263.

Geauga News
Author: Geauga News