Volunteer for Adopt-A-Family and make a child's holiday magical

 Volunteers carry gifts dropped off for Oakland Family Services’ Adopt a Family program.

Volunteers carry gifts dropped off for Oakland Family Services’ Adopt a Family program.

Life for Shirley is rough. The single mother’s fiancé recently died by suicide while she and her three children were at home. She suffers from a serious health condition and is frequently hospitalized, making it impossible for her to work. And she can’t rely on the father of her children for assistance. His rights were terminated for neglect.

Shirley’s children receive treatment in Oakland Family Services’ Specialized Services for Youth program and are among the 550 children needing assistance this holiday season from the agency. You can help our clients and their families who otherwise would not have gifts and necessities by signing up for the agency’s Adopt-A-Family program.

This year, Oakland Family Services is experiencing more families in need of assistance for the holidays. The agency has 260 families in the Adopt-A-Family program, up from 220 families last year.

The families who come to the agency often are experiencing a variety of challenges, of which lack of income is just one. Here are the circumstances surrounding some of our other clients needing assistance: 

  • A client who found out she was HIV positive when she got pregnant with her son. Though he was born negative for HIV, he’s struggling with autoimmune disorder that will necessitate surgeries on top of those he’s already had.

  • A 3-year-old boy who lives at his grandmother’s house with his single mom. His grandmother has some cognitive issues that requires monitoring, which puts a strain on the family’s finances.

  • A family with two children with impairments and special needs. Due to the high demands of both, mom has a limited opportunity to work. The father has health restrictions, so steady paychecks are difficult to come by.

Oakland Family Services is seeking both individuals and businesses to help make sure these families aren’t deprived of the magic of the holidays. As a sponsor, you will receive a wish list for every child. You also may be asked to provide some basic household items like toilet paper and cleaning supplies. The agency requests that new items be purchased. Please wrap and label packages before dropping them off between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Dec. 3-4 and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Dec. 5 at Oakland Family Services’ Pontiac office.

“It is only through the continued generosity of people in our community that we are able to carry on the Adopt-a-Family tradition for our clients,” said Valerie Mercadante, development and engagement coordinator at Oakland Family Services. “When you adopt a family, you are giving them so much more than toys, clothes and household items. You are providing them with hope and happiness, which encourages them to keep fighting for their family's brighter future.” 

You can sign up online or for more information, contact Development and Engagement Coordinator Valerie Mercadante at (248) 858-7766 ext. 1218 or vmercadante@ofsfamily.org.