For the second year in a row Andrews’ Columbus team had the opportunity to volunteer at the Salvation Army’s Adopt-a-Family gift distribution day. This is a great program run by the Salvation Army that allows families that cannot afford gifts for their family to obtain gifts from a secret donor. An individual, family, group, or company “adopts” a family and is provided with a packet of information on the family that contains each family member’s first name, age, clothing size, and a few wish-list gifts. They then shop for this family and then deliver the gifts to the Salvation Army, wrapping only the gifts for the parents. Both of Andrews’ Cleveland and Columbus offices adopted families to shop for this year. It was a fun way to give back to the community and help a family in need make the holiday just as special. For the majority of the families, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity.
On gift distribution day, the families check in by number and then are directed to pull their cars around to the back of the warehouse to pick up their gifts. Most of the gifts are in black bags or boxes arranged by number inside the warehouse. The volunteers must find the gifts, load them into a cart, and deliver them to the car. What sounds like easy work is anything but that. There is a line of cars with families patiently waiting to pick up their gifts, a large warehouse filled with gifts, and a group of individuals trying to get things done as quickly and smoothly as possible. The Andrews Columbus team was split into a morning and afternoon shift helping to distribute the gifts. It was a rewarding and humbling experience. The majority of families showed up in a very humble fashion, not expecting much, and were blown away with the generosity of the amount of gifts given by the donating family. There were some hugs, many thanks, and a lot of genuine appreciation from the families towards the volunteers, Salvation Army and those that chose to “adopt” and donate.
While the Andrews staff could not reveal themselves when their adopted family picked up their gifts, they were able to get a candid reaction from their adoptee and see the genuine appreciation and thanks for the donated gifts. For many families that weren’t expecting much, gifts were stuffed into the trunks, backseats, under feet, and on laps in the cars. Some families became emotional when they saw the gifts they were going to be able to provide their children that year – a bed, a bicycle. Others were overwhelmed by the amount of gifts.”Wow, wow, they really didn’t have to do all of this. Wow, this is so great!” Others questioned out of surprise, “This is all for us?!” Some commented that they would not be able to provide gifts for their children if it were not for the program. Many adults were excited and surprised to see the number of gifts that were purchased to be given to them as well.
Again, the volunteer work was not easy. Most of the staff was exhausted, sore, and wet from the rain but it was worth helping these families to have just as happy of a Christmas as any other family.
From everyone at Andrews – we would like to wish you a fun, safe, and happy holiday season!
For more information on the Columbus Salvation Army click here. For more information on the Cleveland Salvation Army click here.