By Emily Sorensen
Looking to give back this holiday season?
Valley Elementary School is just one of the many schools in the Poway Unified School District running an Adopt-a-Family program over the holiday season, and they need your help.
Unlike previous years past, the Adopt-a-Family program isn’t being held district-wide, but individually by each school, with assistance from the Palomar Council PTA. Roughly 450 families district-wide are in need of adopting. Valley Elementary School alone is adopting out over 80 families, one-fifth of the entire district’s total families in need.
“It’s a huge undertaking,” said Blanca Fisher, who is co-chairing the Valley Elementary Adopt-a-Family program, along with fellow Valley PTA member Tammie Statler. While Fisher has been assisting in the school’s Adopt-a-Family program for five years, this is the first year she’s manning it herself without district help. “We have to find the families, put the information in an anonymous format, find donors, gather the donated items, store them, and make sure all the families’ needs are fulfilled,” said Fisher.
The Poway Kiwanis Club will help deliver the gifts to the families beginning Saturday, Dec. 15.
Despite the difficulty, Fisher, Statler and the Valley PTA have been hard at work, securing 40 donors for their school’s families in need. “Valley parents are really stepping up to the plate,” said Fisher, “sponsoring their own school’s families.” More than just families, Fisher said a number of group had agreed to sponsor a family, including a moms walking group and a church. “It’s been really gratifying to see people come together and helping us out,” said Fisher.
Fisher and Statler are also trying to help out other schools’ Adopt-a-Family programs by taking on any crossover students. “If [the families] have other students in other schools, like an older sibling in middle school, we’ll take care of them,” said Fisher.
Even though there has been an excellent response from the Valley Elementary community, Fisher and Statler still need to find donors for nearly half the families in need. “Our hope is that every family’s hopes are fulfilled,” said Fisher.
In addition to seeking donors for their 40 remaining families, Fisher and Statler are also seeking gas and grocery cards, to be included in with the families’ gifts, as well as volunteers to help with the monumental task of sorting through all the donation to ascertain that everything has been correctly donated and is the right size, as well as to pack the gifts in bags and help purchase any missing or incorrect items.
Volunteers will be needed for the first two weeks in December, with the work being kicked into high gear Monday, Dec. 10 - Friday, Dec. 14 to ready everything to be delivered by the Poway Kiwanis Club.
Those interested in adopting a family or volunteering their time should contact Blanca Fisher at Blanca@thefishers.com.
Many other schools in the Poway Unified School District are also holding Adopt-a-Family programs this holiday season. To find out if your local school needs assistance, contact the Palomar Council at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call your local school.