Sponsors find joy in giving to others
Times are still tough for many Glenn County families, but those who are doing well are responding to help others in need this season.
The Adopt-A-Family program is one venue by which people can provide holiday cheer to children or the elderly throughout the county.
Colleen Ellis is a 15-year volunteer with the program that was started by the United Way.
However, when United Way gave up the program about 10 years ago, Ellis and others decided it was too important to let go.
So she and 13 other volunteers continue to work with the community in this endeavor, she said Monday.
Approximately 150 children will be served through this program this year, she said, along with 35 elders who are shut-ins or otherwise unable to get out of their homes.
On Dec. 14, the gift sponsors will descend on Willows Memorial Hall with the gifts they've purchased, Ellis said.
Then, later that day, the families will come and pick up their gifts — allowing everyone to remain anonymous for privacy.
"Sponsors do not know the families," Ellis said. "They get the first names and age of the children, but everything else is confidential."
Ellis and volunteer Leslee Odom work for Glenn County's Human Resource Agency which supports the program, she said, but is not directly involved.
Instead, volunteers run it — working with families who provide them with "wish lists" of things their children need or would enjoy.
She said they ask people not to put down Xboxes or Wii games as those are too expensive, but things like dolls, shoes, clothing and practical toys are accepted.
Also, sponsors do not need to buy everything on the list, Ellis added, just what they can afford.
"Sponsors have just as much joy in donating things as the families do in receiving them," she said.
Qualifying families are referred to Ellis based on need each year, she said.
Gifts are allocated first to those who have not used it before or who have some sort of catastrophic situation, Ellis said, in order to give more people a chance to receive.
Students from Willows Intermediate School, employees from Rolling Hills Casino, church groups and several other organizations and businesses have or are participating in the program, Ellis said.
But more are always welcome to assist.
For more information, call Ellis at 934-1478 or Odom at 934-1474.