Washington Evening Journal
http://washington-ia.villagesoup.com/p/940092

Neighbors Growing Together | Oct 24, 2014

12 Days of Christmas Spirit

By Andy Hallman | Dec 20, 2012
Rick Hofer (left), RenElla Crawford (center) and Emily Swailes organize the toys for HACAP’s “Christmas Adoption” program this week.

The number of families who applied for HACAP’s “Christmas Adoption” is down significantly from last year. Washington HACAP director RenElla Crawford said that’s not necessarily a bad thing. She said it’s a sign the economy is improving.
About 200 families applied for adoption through HACAP’s Christmas Adoption program last year. That was the highest number in the program’s history, and much higher than the number of adoptions in 2010, which was 168. This year, however, only 144 families applied for adoption.
“To me, that tells me more families are in a better situation this year,” Crawford said. “It tells me they have work or temporary work. It’s a sign the economy is a little better now. Maybe we’re on the upswing.”
HACAP starts taking adopt-a-family applications on Nov. 1. Crawford said she likes that it coincides with the start of home energy assistance applications. When residents come to HACAP to apply for energy assistance, they can sign up for the adopt-a-family program at the same time.  
Many of the people who adopt the families want to shop on “Black Friday,” so HACAP tries to wrap up the applications by Nov. 16. Crawford said HACAP still takes applications after that date because some groups adopt families late in the year.
This year, all but eight families were adopted. HACAP purchases gifts for those families from the Christmas cash donations it receives.
When a family applies for the program, it fills out how many members are in the family, how old they are and what their clothing sizes are. Each person lists a few things he or she would like for Christmas.
The adopters will then take the wish list and buy presents for the family. Some groups do not know the identify of the family members they buy for. Other groups know the family and will deliver the gifs to the family’s home. The adopters are asked to spend about $25 per family member.
“Families are very appreciative of whatever they can get,” Crawford said. “A few families have shed tears when they came to pick up. Some of them were going to have nothing. One gal said, ‘We’ve had a bad year and our kids were getting nothing.’ They’re very touched by this.”
The adopters deliver their gifts to the basement of Washington Eye Clinic. Throughout this week, Crawford or another HACAP worker has called the families when their gifts have come in. Crawford said Wednesday was supposed to be the last day to pick up gifts but that might be Friday now since the blizzard came today and many gifts were still not delivered.
“Thursday is probably a lost day for us to do this; then after Friday, we’re off for four days,” she said.
Washington resident Lonnie Milligan also organizes an adopt-a-family program. Milligan meets with HACAP to go over their list of families to ensure there is no overlap.
Shortly after HACAP completes its adopt-a-family program, it will complete its move into the remodeled building southwest of the sheriff’s office at Orchard Hill. HACAP will move into its new home after the first of the year.


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