Adopt a Family for Christmas 2020

Thank you for joining with immigrant families to make this a happier Christmas season! 

Every day, our immigrant neighbors are forced to overcome adversity large and small. Many of the families we serve continue to face the daily struggle of income disruption due to the pandemic, and they find themselves with fewer resources than ever before. Our families told us the holiday program brings so much joy and often a sense of community and connection. Please be a part of making that happen this year. 

In the past months, we’ve listened to our families about the needs-both emotional and physical-that have arisen out of the pandemic, and how those should inform our annual Adopt a Family for Christmas program. Among them, two stood out: they identified wanting to minimize virus exposure as much as possible, and they also told us that they would love to shop for their own families. 

With that in mind, this year we are asking for gift cards for all of our families.  If you choose to participate, you will receive a description of a local immigrant family in their own (translated) words, sharing about who they are and how this past year has been for them, along with some guidance about what types of gift cards would be most helpful and drop-off instructions for December.

Do You Have Questions?

We have answers. If you have a question not answered below, please email Meredith at:

Why gift cards? Can’t I shop for presents for my adopted family? 

As the pandemic has changed things for all of us, this holiday program is no exception. Many of the families in our programs indicated they would feel safer if we took every precaution to limit their exposure to COVID. Many of our staff members and volunteers that typically help run this massive effort feel the same (and some of you might, too!). 

Perhaps more compelling, however, was hearing that our clients wanted to have the choice to shop for their own families. This makes sense to us, because we like to do the same! Providing gift cards will allow our families to make the ultimate decision about what is best for their individual members this Christmas.

How much should my gift card be for?

We suggest that for each adopted family, you purchase at least one gift card per person at a minimum of $25 each and also at least one additional gift card for the family at a minimum of $50 so they can purchase general household items. You may certainly choose to spend more per person and/or on the household–especially for a larger household. In fact, if you have participated in our program in the past and purchased gifts, you know that feeling of looking in your cart and saying, “I’d like to give more.” You can do that with gift cards, too!

How do I choose a family size?

In previous years, we have asked that donors purchase at least one gift per household member and an assortment of household items that include cleaning supplies, hygiene supplies, and gift cards for food, gas, and other items. This year in our transition to all gift cards, please keep in mind the minimum suggested donated gift card per person and family then consider your budget. You can also keep in mind what you would want that shopping cart to look like for the family and buy the gift cards accordingly.

Can I adopt more than one family?

Sure! Please fill out a separate registration form for each family you would like to adopt. Just click “Submit another response” on the form.

What if I can’t adopt a whole family, but I still want to help?

We know that many of our donors give sacrificially, especially in a pandemic year.  If you would like to purchase a gift card of any amount to go toward a family, please fill out the registration form and choose the option on the electronic registration form that says “The best way for me to help this year is to purchase a gift card but not adopt a whole family.” You can also help us by spreading the word about the program and the wonderful families that participate.

Can I send a donation and have you do the shopping?

We would be happy to purchase the gift cards for a family on your behalf.  You may send us a check or donate online here (please choose the Southside Center fund, and put a note that it is for the Adopt A Family program at the bottom of the form).

How do families get nominated for your Adopt a Family for Christmas program?

Families are nominated by a St. Francis staff member who has worked with the family and knows them well. Nominated families must meet income qualifications and are prioritized by considering their access to resources.

I submitted my electronic form.  When will I receive information on my adopted family?

Thank you for signing up! We are working to gather and translate all the information from our nominated families so we can send it to you by mid-November. With over 200 families nominated, staff are working hard to ensure our normal, quality programming is being delivered while also handling these additional responsibilities…in the midst of a pandemic. Hopefully, with a month to shop, you’ll still have plenty of time.

When and how will I give you all these gift cards?

When we send you the description of your adopted family in mid-November, we will also send you detailed information about how this will all happen.  We are hoping that the last date we receive gift cards will be December 15th so families have enough time to pick up their gift cards and do their shopping.