Upper Des Moines Opportunity, Inc. is taking a new approach to helping families celebrate Christmas this year.
In past years, UDMO, partnered with the Pilot-Tribune, has offered the Adopt-A-Family program in which families are "adopted" by individuals, families, classrooms, clubs, churches and businesses. The adopters provided goods for a holiday meal to their chosen family, and often included special gifts for the children, gift certificates, handmade items, cards and other things to brighten the holidays for those in need.
"This year we are going to try something different," said Joan Spooner, Director of UDMO. "We still want people to adopt families; however, this year we are accepting cash donations, gift certificates to Wal-Mart, Fareway and Hy-Vee, as well as toys for all ages to be directly delivered to Upper Des Moines to be distributed to eligible families."
After the cash donations, gift certificates and other items are donated, families will be able to 'shop' and pick out a set number of items that the child wants on the designated days. Parents will then receive a gift certificate to one of the area grocery stores. The amount will be based on the number of people in the family.
"All the families will still have to go through an application process and be determined eligible before they can utilize the program," said Spooner.
Cash donations, which are tax deductible, are strongly being encouraged this year. "What is nice about cash donations is that we can get more for our money than you can. We are able to get discounts at certain stores and do not pay tax. We get more bang for the buck."
In addition to presents and certificates for the family, Spooner also hopes to be able to provide each child with a hat and mittens to keep them warm this winter.
If you have any questions or would like to donate to the Christmas-time fund, please call Joan Spooner at UDMO at 732-1757 or stop by the office at 110 West Railroad Street.