Adopt-A-Family in need of more sponsors

  • Libby Kolasinski sorts through boxes of donations at Holy Family Roman Catholic Church as part of Adopt-A-Family of Franklin County in 2016. FILE PHOTO/ANDY CASTILLO

Staff Writer
Thursday, December 05, 2019

SOUTH DEERFIELD — A nonprofit organization dedicated to connecting people in need at Christmastime with those able to help is in the middle of a less than desirable holiday tradition: finding more donors.

Adopt-A-Family of Franklin County is once again making a public appeal for more sponsors, this year for about 35 families that still need to be adopted. Sponsors provide an anonymous family with food for all three meals on Christmas Day and at least a couple of gifts.

According to Libby Kolasinski, coordinator of the charity effort, sponsors are encouraged to purchase one practical gift and one fun gift. Nonperishable foods can accompany the gifts, though a gift card is required for perishable items such as meat and milk. Kolasinski said various agencies throughout Franklin County are given slots they can fill with families known to be a in tight financial situation. She said there are about 225 slotted families this year.

Adopt-A-Family of Franklin County made a similar appeal this time last year, when the charity was short roughly 30 sponsors. Kolasinski said this is a typical problem due to a yearly increase in demand and emergency cases that come in to the social agencies.

“It just happens,” she said.

Anyone interested in being a sponsor should call Kolasinski at 413-665-7031. Cash and check donations can be made out to Adopt-A-Family of Franklin County and mailed to Libby Kolasinski at 140 Russell St., Sunderland, MA 01375. She can also be contacted at libbykol@comcast.net.

Kolasinski said some of the agencies whose clients benefit from the program are Women, Infants, & Children, Montague Catholic Social Ministries, and The United Arc. Susan Jones, director of the youth and family supports department at The United Arc, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, said this is the third year the program has benefited from Adopt-A-Family of Franklin County.

“I don’t know what (families) would do without this additional support (from Adopt-A-Family),” Jones said. “Some of those children may not receive anything for Christmas.”

She said the benefiting families belong to one of two of The United Arc’s programs — Positive Parenting and Family Support. Jones said Positive Parenting is primarily funded through the state Department of Children and Families and works with families where the parents typically have learning challenges. Jones said the program helps “strengthen the family unit” in an attempt to enable the family to become independent of DCF. Family Support, funded exclusively through the state Department of Developmental Services, assists families that have a member with a disability.

Jones said The United Arc got six slots — one for three families in each program. She said holiday costs and heating bills can make this time of year particularly financially challenging for families.

Domenic Poli can be reached at dpoli@recorder.com or
413-772-0261, ext. 262.