Impoverished families adopted for Thanksgiving, Christmas Neighbors in Need links less fortunate with help

November 20, 1995|By Jackie Powder | Jackie Powder,SUN STAFF

It's the busy season for Neighbors in Need, the program that pairs groups or individuals with county families needing help with the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.

So far, 727 families have applied to the program for help, with most of the requests for toys and food at Christmas, said Barbara Brown, coordinator of the Neighbors in Need program.

Last year the program, administered by the private, nonprofit Human Services Programs, helped 1,055 families.

"Our main emphasis is on Christmas," Mrs. Brown said. "We never guarantee that anyone gets help at Thanksgiving.

"There's just not enough money to take care of both holidays."

About 200 families have been matched with groups or churches that have volunteered to provide them with Thanksgiving dinner. One church has asked to help 36 families for the holiday.

Those families that Neighbors in Need are unable to help for Thanksgiving are referred to the community holiday dinner held at St. John's Roman Catholic Church at 43 Monroe St. in Westminster. Last year's dinner, organized by Shepherd's Staff, a ministry of Westminster area churches, served about 300 people.

Neighbors in Need began planning its holiday meal project in September. The agency accepts referrals of eligible families from the Department of Social Services and area religious and human services groups, including Mount Airy Net, Escape Ministries, Taneytown Caring and Sharing and the Northeast Social Action Project.

Because the groups are familiar with the families they refer to Neighbors in Need, it reduces the likelihood that people will take advantage of the holiday program, Mrs. Brown said.

"It's not just a case of somebody knocking on our door and saying 'can I have Christmas,' " she said.

Between now and Christmas, Mrs. Brown will spend much of her time pairing families with individuals and groups who want to "adopt" them for the holidays.

Frequently people specify what type of person or family they would like to help.

"We get people calling up saying 'I'd like to adopt a single mother and her children,' " Mrs. Brown said. "I match up families with what the donors are looking for."

Families who aren't adopted for Christmas will be invited to select toys and food from the Neighbors in Need Christmas Shop, scheduled for Dec. 18 and 19 at the old National Guard Armory in Westminster.

Anyone interested in adopting a family for Thanksgiving or Christmas may call Neighbors in Need at 857-2999.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.