Written by Abbigail Hebner, Student Journalist
Not everyone can afford a Christmas, for a variety of reasons. There are so many families in Canada that struggle to put food on the table let alone gifts under the tree. Fortunately many people in our communities want to help and that’s where the Adopt-a-Family program comes in.
How much does Christmas really cost? Getting a tree, having dinners, buying gifts, visits to see Santa, travel to family and friends - all of it can really add up. According to recent reports the average Canadian spends about $1,500- $2,500 each year at Christmas. That’s a lot of money for many families to spend, especially if they are already struggling.
Many communities try to help families manage at Christmas. People in churches around Simcoe County, including Midland, host Christmas dinners, and help in any way they can. The Adopt-a-Family program provides assistance throughout the holiday season to families who are in need of extra support with food, clothing, presents or other primary expenses.
Adopt-a-Family has been a tradition at St. Theresa’s Catholic High School in Midland for about 20 years. In that time the program has helped a countless number of families. “Adopt-a-Family began with a group of students having the idea, in fact it was Mrs. Rumney!” Mrs. Scott said. Every year classes sign up to provide a Christmas for some local needy families.
Each class that signs up to participate is provided with a family and that family provides a list of gifts they wish for - things like gifts for children, stockings, a turkey dinner, some non-perishable food items and gift cards. The St. Vincent de Paul Society first interviews the families to make sure that there is a true need.
“This year we have 13 classes, plus individual teachers supporting 9 families,” Mrs. Scott says. Along with everyone participating to provide a Christmas for these families, the school also puts on a Christmas dinner and invites each family.
If transportation is needed, Central Taxi provides their services. With the help of student and teacher volunteers in the school, the cafeteria is transformed into a formal dining area, with decorations, live music and servers. There are craft tables set up and games for the kids, as well as some raffles and a dance. Adopt-a-Family is a tradition that definitely helps the community. Hopefully it is something that continues for many years to come.