What is Adopt A Family and How Does it Work?

IMG_0366The Adopt A Family Program (AAF) began several years ago when GLAC AUSA became aware of several local Army Families that were struggling to make ends meet during the holiday season.  Multiple deployments, unemployment and the worsening economy had left them anything but ready to celebrate the holidays.  

GLAC AUSA stepped in to help; as we were taking care of those families it became clear to us that there were many other families out there in need of a bit of extra cheer during the holidays.  

AAF is a program to provide local Army families that are struggling financially with that little extra holiday cheer. Families are nominated by their local Family Readiness Group (FRG) coordinator and vetted by the chain of command.

We begin our outreach in August and September – working with local Army units to identify families in need.  Forms go out to the Soldiers through the Family Readiness network.

IMG_0421Each family completes a form to provide details on their situation: the reason they are requesting “adoption” and what they need, including ideas/requests for gifts for the children and for themselves.  Their stories bring us to tears every year.

Forms become part of the GLAC AUSA AAF data base, which is managed by the Vice President of Soldier, Family and Veterans Programs, the Vice President of Programs and the Vice President of Communications.  Our chapter president has final oversight.

By late October our database is up and running with a list of wonderful families whose lives are going to be much brighter during the holidays not just because their children will have gifts under the tree or because they will have grocery cards to provide a holiday meal… but because they have personally felt the love and caring of the community.

To ensure the privacy of the families, all last names and unit numbers are removed prior to sending the information out to companies and individuals interested in adopting a family/families.  A sample spreadsheet is shown, below.  Adopting companies/groups/individuals are  given a compiled list of the families assigned to them.

AAF graphic

How Can My Company Participate?

Start by initiating a “campaign” inviting employees to sign up to adopt a family.

Brief your employees on the Adopt-A-Family campaign (GLAC AUSA will provide the “Getting Started” Briefing).

Identify a person within the company to lead the campaign.  That person may want to assemble a team to assist, depending on how many families/how great an involvement your company wants to have in the program; some companies choose to assist just a few families – and your help is important no matter how many families your company can sign up to adopt!

Set up an areas where employees can go and read about the various families and select one or more families to adopt. We recommend that you put the individual family adoption request forms in a binder for an employee to read and have the spreadsheet sign up sheet printout (we will provide) next to it.

Employees use the sign up sheet to enter their name next to that of the family being adopted. Once they have selected the family, they remove that family’s form from the binder. Multiple employees can team up to adopt a family.

Identify when and where gifts are to be brought within your facility/company The Company lead / team often are given cash and go out and buy gift cards (for those employees who prefer to give cash) or gifts

All gifts and donations are tax deductible.

The Nuts and Bolts

Each family will receive:  A Grocery gift card (usually for about $25 per family member, or not less than $100) and a gift for each child/dependent in the family. In some cases our donors prefer to give the family a gift card ($25-50 value) for each child (usually from Target or Wal-Mart) so that they may purchase the gift themselves.  We encourage our donors to also provide gifts for “Mom” and “Dad.” Gifts are to be unwrapped, with the price tags removed. It is helpful if they can be placed in gift bags. Gifts are to be from mom and dad/Santa – so we ask that donors not put their names on the gifts. DRS Technologies in Cypress becomes the central location for all the incoming gifts.  Volunteers review each set of gifts that come in – checking what is donated against the family’s request form.  All of a family’s gifts are bagged together and identified by the AAF number. All the gifts are picked up at DRS Technologies by the unit’s Family Readiness Group representative.

If your company would like to participate, please contact Felicia Campbell: