Volunteer center hosts Adopt-A-Family program this holiday season

Students with an interest of giving back to the community and those less fortunate can participate in the Adopt-A-Family Match Day on Monday at the Bovee University Center in Room 106 from 1 to 5 p.m.

The Mary Ellen Volunteer Center partnered with United Way of Isabella County to help students adopt families for this upcoming holiday season.

After families put in applications through United Way, the volunteer center will receive a list of families from the company and match students with them.

Students are able to see how many members are in the family, how old the family members are and read their story or find out what happened to them that put them in this situation.

When adopting a family, students will receive a wish list of the adopted family’s needs.

Wyoming graduate student Jason Vasquez worked with the Business Residential College and Public Service Residential College to adopt one family for each of the past two years.

“We chose a family that we could relate to or one that had a story we thought was inspiring and we wanted to help them out,” Vasquez said. “For instance, we adopted a family that mother with two kids and they had no kitchen table. So, we brought them a kitchen table so they could have a kitchen table for their family because the father passed away and he was the main provider for their family.”

When Jason partnered with the BRC and PSRC, together they raised $200 for the family. However, they did not come to a stop once they purchased the kitchen table.

“We brought the family clothes (and) toys for the kids,” Vasquez said. “… Also just a gift card just for gas, to get around.”

Students who participated in the program normally adopt a family as a group and fundraise to help support the family. They will work with RSOs or Greek Life.

“I know a lot of people do it as a group,” said Pontiac sophomore Chelsea Moss said, who works at the volunteer center. “It’s different sororities, fraternities ... as a whole will adopt a family. They’ll do different fundraisers for that family.”

However, the entire process is completely anonymous. Those who adopt families will never meet the families face-to-face.

“The people who contribute to this, they’re not going to get any recognition,” Moss said. “It’s not nothing like 'because you did this, we’re going to give you a gift card.' There’s no prize in the end besides you basically just having that good feeling that you just helped not just one person, but a whole family. This could impact them for the rest of their lives.”

One year, the PSRC raised money for a bed. They knocked at several residence hall doors to fundraise money so they could not only buy the mattress, but a bed frame.

“It’s service to others, it’s not a handout — it’s a hand up,” Vasquez said. “We want to be able to uplift people and give them hope for the future instead of just a ‘here’s a gift, have a happy holiday.’ We want to be sure to make them happy and use that for the future.”

For students interested in taking part in this program, they can stop at the volunteer center or go to OrgSync. Adopt-A-Family ends Nov. 20.


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