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Organization staff nervous hundreds of families won't get Christmas presents

AFL-CIO Community Services has 276 families on its "Adopt-a-Family" list and no volunteers asking to adopt them.

Posted: Dec 17, 2019 1:51 PM
Updated: Dec 17, 2019 1:57 PM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.)  Hundreds of families rely on the AFL-CIO to put toys under their Christmas tree, but this year, the organization's "Adopt-a-Family" is close to falling short and the deadline is just days away.

"We are concerned right now," Penny Adams, the executive director of the AFL-CIO Community Services said.

What does it cost to Adopt-A-Family?

The program asks the donors to provide one new toy per child in a household. Any additional gifts including clothes, food, hygiene products, or gifts for the adults in the family is up to the adopter.

Penny Adams, executive director of AFL-CIO provided people interested in giving with a rough estimate for the 2019 Holiday Season.

  • One child under the age of 10 years old. 
    • "A nice toy would probably cost $20-$30 for children in that age group," Adams said.
  • One child 10 years old or older. 
    • She said to budget up to $50 because the gifts usually cost more for the older kids.
  • Adult in a residential care facility.
    • "It's very inexpensive to adopt an adult in need," Adams said. "For $50 you could buy a lot of gifts since they tend to need basic hygiene products."

She said not as many families have offered to "adopt" a family as she had hoped.

As of Dec. 17, 494 families have been adopted but 276 have not. Time is ticking for AFL-CIO staff to connect families in need with donors.

"We are a little bit nervous," Adams said and then motioned to her phone. "Our phones are usually ringing off the hook but as you can hear it's dead silence."

Meeting the community's needs gets harder each year. Last year, 709 families applied for the program. This year, 760 families applied.

"When Monday comes and we see how many families are left, if it looks doubtful we will probably start calling families at that point saying, 'I'm sorry we're not going to be able to help you,'" Adams said. "Just to give them a heads up."

In addition to families, the list also includes adults living in residential care facilities in need of Christmas gifts. 

"Those individuals don't have anybody that provides any kind of Christmas for them and they are on really, really limited funds and many times don't have enough money to buy their own personal hygiene items," Adams said. "You know, things they need to get them through the year."

The AFL-CIO is accepting donations for families in need through Christmas Eve. Call 816-364-1131 if you would like to help buy gifts for one of the families.

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