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Sterling Heights

November 16, 2012

City still seeking help for Holiday Assistance Program

Benefactors needed to adopt families

By Cortney Casey
C & G Staff Writer

This holiday season, the most appreciated gift you give may be to someone you don’t even know.

As of mid-November, more than 20 families remained to be adopted through Sterling Heights’ Holiday Assistance Program, which coordinates distribution of goods to needy families in partnership with local churches, service clubs, schools and other agencies and organizations.

More than 650 families requested help this year, and most — but not all — were “adopted” by participating groups, businesses and individuals following an organizational meeting held earlier this month.

Plus, in addition to the families who remain unaddressed on the original list, calls for assistance keep rolling in, said Karen Kazmer, a citizen services specialist with the city’s Community Relations Department, who oversees the program.

Kazmer said those requests for help often continue right up until Christmas, as families in need are often so focused on making ends meet this week and next that they haven’t even thought about what their holidays will look like yet.

Adopting a family typically involves supplying gifts for the children, clothing and food — or a gift card for a store where the recipients can purchase food — prior to Christmas, she said.

Benefactors can choose to personally deliver the items to recipients, or they can drop them off at City Hall for pickup, depending on the format with which they feel comfortable, she added.

“What we also accept is gift cards, and then as those late-comers come to request help, we have at least a gift card to give them,” said Kazmer.

Gift cards to grocery stores or multi-purpose stores like Target are most helpful, she said.

According to Kazmer, many of the benefactors involved are repeat participants.

“It is very gratifying to be on the giving end,” she said. “I have found that once a family or business does provide for another one, that they find it very gratifying and they come back and do it the following year.”

Community Relations Director Steve Guitar said he hopes a few more donors will step up to the plate to ensure “a joyous holiday” for local families in need.

“As we’ve seen in the past, the generosity of the community really comes forth at this time of year,” he said.

For more information or to volunteer to help, call Community Relations at (586) 446-2489.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Cortney Casey at ccasey@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1046.