17. December 2008 · Comments Off on Wrapping Up: The A2 Adopt-A-Family program · Categories: Ann Arbor, Archive 2008, Charity

I swung by the gift wrapping for the Ann Arbor Adopt-A-Family program tonight at the UM Golf Course and met Debbie Williams-Hoak and a few of the volunteers. This wonderful group collects gifts for needy families in the area. Debbie confirmed they are helping out 68 families this year, a record, and start visiting homes soon. You wouldn’t believe all the gifts and donations they received if you saw it, so…see it:


A small portion of the gifts purchased by donors in the area


Volunteers wrapping up gifts for families


Dawn King of the Ann Arbor Police Dept. (left) with founder Debbie Williams-Hoak

Earlier today this site received a very nice note from someone directly helped out by Debbie Williams-Hoak and the folks running the program this season. Thought I’d pass it along:

Relief and Hope! This is what I felt when I received a phone call from former pro golfer, Debbie Williams and AAPD Dawn King, informing me that my two children were being adopted for Christmas. Initially I wanted to decline such a gift as there are so many families that probably face an even greater financial burden this season. Dawn quickly reminded me of the gift of acceptance and after talking with her for almost an hour; I humbly accepted the amazing gift of adoption of my two little ones.

As far back as I can remember, my family and I have always donated clothes, money, time, and my heart to as much as I could think of and now I find myself in a situation where I am running out of gas; if I didn’t accept this gift right here and now, my family may not have made it emotionally – through the season.

I noticed a change in my children’s behavior after I announced that we were not able to have Christmas this year which seemed to a negative effect on the kids socially. I really felt bad listening to them tell untruths to their friends about what all they were receiving as everyone discussed what gifts they were getting. I told them that I totally understood why they would choose to be dishonest but hang in there because if nothing else we have each other and that is a gift that is forever.

Thanks to Debbie and the AAPD, we also have an even larger family – the Ann Arbor Community! I am so pleased to know that there are truly still good people out here that care not just about the poor but also the working class that are trying so hard not to slip into that downward spiral. There are so many of us that are working full time jobs with benefits and still can’t fully make it even after cutting absolutely every corner possible and yes it is scary because we all seem to have so much to lose.

If any one is out there afraid to speak up about what they are going through – DO NOT be afraid, proud, embarrassed, or shamed. Life happens to all of us and the best thing we can do for ourselves and others is to NEVER judge and just take a split moment to ask “why” and “how” opposed to focusing on the “what”. Also try not to look at another person’s actions or situation and think of what you would have done if it were “YOU” instead, think of what you would do if you were “THEM”- now that is truly putting yourself in someone else’s shoes.

Thank you for your ear and your heart. My family and I are forever grateful for the help of the AAPD, Debbie Williams, AM1050, Dicken Elementary, Stadium Optical, Dr. Linda Polley and all of those who continue to donate and give to families, children, and individuals in need.
I love you all,