ADOPT A FAMILY
Dec. 1, 2018
Laura Alyssa Platé, News Editor
This Christmas across the United States approximately 15 million children will be living below the poverty line and an additional 1.2 million won’t know where their next meal is coming from. This can be especially difficult around the holiday season when children see their friends being showered with presents from their parents and Santa but their wish lists for the holidays include socks and a warm winter coat.
In Habersham County, poverty touches 18.3 percent of the population and the Piedmont Campus Ministry has set out to alleviate some of that stress each Christmas. What began as a few faculty members adopting a family through Circle of Hope has turned into a booming community outreach program that involves professors, staff, students, clubs and organizations around campus. This year, 17 families, including 54 children, were adopted and will receive gifts this holiday season.
The Campus Minister’s Office works with do-gooder and community member Christina Davis to pair Habersham families and Piedmont sponsors. One student worker has consistently helped Davis load toys into her pickup truck over the years.
“My freshman year when Dr. Cleere was here I helped out a little bit with sorting the bags, but when Rev. Tim got here, because I was the only one familiar with it I ran the thing and I’ve been doing it ever since,” said Emily Pierce, a Senior English major who has worked in the Campus Minister’s Office since before current campus minister Rev. Tim Garvin-Leighton’s arrival at Piedmont. “This year is a little different with all the student workers helping, but I have been involved for the last 4 years.”
Pierce has often mentioned that, recognizing that she will be graduating and that the time has come to pass the torch onto the rest of the desk workers, has been like “giving up a baby.” She has seen the Adopt a Family program grow from helping 11 or 12 children to what it has become today.
“It’s a good cause,” said Pierce. “It’s helping low-income families in the community that wouldn’t otherwise be able to give their children gifts at Christmas. Sometimes they ask for Walmart gift cards so they can buy groceries for their families.”
The office workers all say they have enjoyed the time and experience of putting together the program and are beyond grateful to everyone who is participating and making the wishlists of kids in the Piedmont community come to life.
“I think the people who work on it and see it in motion are the people who benefit the most from it, the people who are involved in the charity side of it,” said Nicole Bryan, a Philosophy and Religion major who also works in the Campus Minister’s Office. “I wish more people would be able to see the pictures of the kids and see how cute they are. I also think it’s banded those of us in the office together more just from working on it.”
Though all the children and families have been adopted this year, people who wish to help out are welcome to donate so that the Campus Ministry can purchase wrapping paper for the parents to use to wrap their children’s gifts. Others who are interested in adopting next year or would like more information are encouraged to email email@example.com.