Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A DIY Touch on Holiday Donations

One of my favorite activities during last year's holiday season was adopting a family. At the time, my sister (whose birthday lands on Christmas day!) was working at a large charity organization in NYC where they had an Adopt-a-family program. She emailed all of us asking if our family wanted to adopt another less fortunate family and we were very excited at the idea. We were matched with a young single mother who had one little girl and a baby. To make it manageable (in a way that didn't break the bank), we divided up the wish list and I remember buying bedding and towels for the little family. Giving each other one less gift was so worth being able to provide this family with new items that they needed.

There are a lot of organizations that offer Adopt-a-Family programs, making it possible for struggling families with children to still have a magical holiday season. The holidays can be a difficult time for a lot of people, especially when budgets are too strained to afford festive gatherings, special meals, and gift exchanges. So... I was ecstatic to hear that at the college where I work, one of the clubs decided to adopt a family with MEND Poverty!

MEND Poverty: Christmas Adoption Program

MEND Poverty is an amazing local organization whose mission is to "with dignity and respect, powered by volunteers, break the bonds of poverty by providing basic human needs and a pathway to self reliance." They have an emergency food bank (which we recently donated to and will be sharing soon!), a clothing center, medical/eye/dental clinics, an education and training center, youth services, job training services, homeless services, and more.

From the website, MEND Christmas Adoption Program:

"MEND's annual Christmas program provides assistance to up to 1400 pre-screened families each year. Applicants register in October at the MEND Center. During November, all of these applicants are visited by MEND volunteers in their homes to verify information and to determine which of the families are most needy. Those who are in this critical needs category (usually 200-300 families living in garages, shacks, trailers or who have had a recent crisis) are recommended for the Adoptions Program in which they are matched with businesses, schools, church groups, other organizations or families who provide food, toys, new clothing for each family member, and a household item, and deliver these items directly to the recipients. The remaining 1200 or so households are provided with boxes of food, new toys for each child up to age 14 and one or more blankets; these 'baskets' are prepared at MEND by volunteers and are picked up by the recipients at the MEND Center."

MEND requests that families receive a sweatshirt or sweater for each family member, one or two new toys for the kids, and a small gift or household item such as a space heater, dishes, or blankets. The gift basket should also include enough food for at least one complete Christmas meal for the entire family.

The LAVC Broadcasting Club and 95.1 KVCM Monarch radio station went above and beyond for their adopted family this year. They publicized their efforts on instagram, facebook, at club days, and over the air waves. They were not only able to buy the family a bunch of wonderful items on and in addition to the list, but also received a bunch of donations from the community to gift as well.

Now, you might be wondering why this is an ITLT post, but if you know us well, then you've already guessed that there's not one awesome DIY element, but two!

DIY Stockings

In addition to the much needed clothing/home/food donations, ITLT jumped in to snazz things up a bit. Inspired by our tagline, the KVCM Club hosted a "creative acts of kindness" table at the December club day. Students from across campus could take an Art break and create a hand-designed stocking while they live broadcasted the event! These beautiful and personalized stockings were simply made from plain Dollar Tree stockings and fabric paint. I definitely stopped by to make one; here's how it turned out!

DIY Ornament Wreath

Lastly, we wanted to help make a house a home with one special ITLT treat. With repurposed tiny ornaments, we hoped to help KVCM seal the deal with holiday cheer. We even included an over-the-door wreath hanger ($1 at Dollar Tree).

This inexpensive wreath is made from:
  • Mini ornaments - 16 pack - found in the dollar section at Target
  • Green foam loop - found in the gardening section at Dollar Tree
  • All purpose glue/Hot glue gun
  • LOVE

The KVCM Club was granted the rare opportunity to personally deliver their gifts and these crafts, and it was wonderful hearing how grateful THEY were to be able to provide their adopted family with so many wonderful donations.