Quick Take:

The Volunteer Center connects our community with meaningful ways to give back during the holidays, including its latest feature: their very own Adopt-a-Family program.

The heart of the holiday season is upon us and with that comes the biggest time of giving all year long.

Santa Cruz County has always been a place that prides itself on its local economy. Supporting local businesses, local nonprofits and local causes we all care about. With supply chains in upheaval and the need greater than ever for local causes to raise funds due to the persistent pandemic wreaking havoc, there has never been a greater time to give back to the local Santa Cruz County community this holiday season.

“It’s that time of year again when our community members reach out to us looking for ways to connect and make their holiday celebrations more meaningful.” — Christina Thurston, Director of Volunteer Connections at the Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County

To meet this annual increased interest in volunteerism, each year the Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County posts an online Holiday Volunteer Guide.

“We regularly update the guide throughout the holiday season as new projects become available, so we encourage folks to check back regularly or give us a call if they can’t find what they are looking for and we are happy to match them with an opportunity,” states Thurston.

Included in the guide is the Volunteer Center’s own Adopt a Family Project. This project has been running for almost 40 years and supports families struggling to make ends meet during the holidays. Each year the Volunteer Center partners with fellow non-profits on this project to meet the needs of around 400 families.

Partner non-profits provide the project with a short bio about each family and a list of the items that each family member requests. Adopt a Family Project volunteers then set to work connecting these families with willing donors. Oftentimes, requests include basic necessities like sheets, towels and grocery store gift cards along with special gift requests for the children.

“For many of us as the days grow colder and shorter we turn our thoughts to the joy of the holiday season with family and friends, but for local families that are struggling, the holidays become a very worrisome time, especially now during Covid-19. It is truly heartbreaking to read through the family stories and to know that without this project these children might not have a warm jacket, let alone gifts or toys.” — Christina Thurston, Director of Volunteer Connections at the Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County

“We still have many families awaiting adoption but we are confident that our generous community will come through as it always does. This project has been successfully maintained with the support of our local businesses, community members, and willing volunteers for so many years,” continues Thurston.

There are a number of ways to support the project that include adopting a whole family, purchasing individual items, volunteering in the Adopt a Family warehouse to wrap and sort gifts, or donating funds to support the project.

Adopt or learn more about the project by calling the Adopt a Family Hotline at 831-457-9834. Volunteers will be at the phone line until December 9th.

Aside from the Adopt a Family Project there are many deserving projects and programs in Santa Cruz County in need of volunteers or financial support this holiday season. “There is something for everyone, no matter how much time or money you have to give. If you’re struggling to find just the right fit for giving back, reach out to us at 831- 427-5070 or email connect@scvolunteercenter.org and we will help you find the perfect match for your needs and interests,” states Thurston.