This holiday season, Johnstown residents can once again “adopt” a child to buy presents for or sign up to see if they qualify to receive presents.
Interested volunteers receive information about a child’s gender and age and sometimes even a wishlist of presents the child would like.
The present, which is to cost no more than $75, is purchased and given to the organization that will distribute it to the family in need.
The program has been helping Johnstown residents for more than 10 years. More than 200 children received presents last year from the organization.
Donors and recipients of the gifts are both kept anonymous.
Stephanie Stephens is one of the members of Faith Fellowship Church who is helping organize the event.
“We still have many applications to fill and are so appreciative of people who are willing to help,” Stephens said in an email.
“Adopt-a-Child is a communitywide effort and so many people make it successful.”
Another one of the organizers, Janie Young, said people are welcome to donate cash or gift cards and someone else can go out and buy the presents for a child.
She acknowledged not everyone likes to shop, but they can still give back and make a difference for a family.
“It’s so rewarding to see people come in and receive the presents,” Young said.
“Sometimes they have tears in their eyes,” she said. “It’s so much fun and great we are able to facilitate this.”
Young said a lot of community businesses have made generous donations to the group and those shopping locally might receive a small discount if they tell the manager they are shopping for a family in need.
“I really enjoy helping organize this,” Young said. “It’s very time-consuming, but so rewarding to hear how we are impacting people.
“It makes your heart melt.”
The group does not wrap the presents for the families so parents can see the gifts ahead of time.
They do give the families wrapping paper, tape and scissors. Young said donations of wrapping paper and tape are always appreciated.
There are six locations to pick up applications for the program and drop off presents. The locations are marked with Christmas mailboxes at: the Heartland Bank of Croton, the Faith Fellowship office in downtown Johnstown, the Pizza Place in Croton and the Homer, Mary E. Babcock and Alexandria public libraries.
Those interested in getting involved can call Stephens at 740-967-0148 or send an email firstname.lastname@example.org