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Adopt-A-Family needs more sponsors

  • Adopt-A-Family pickup is held at Holy Family Parish on Sugarloaf Street in South Deerfield. FILE PHOTO

  • Libby Kolasinski, organizer of Adopt-A-Family of Franklin County, counts donations during a previous collection day. FILE PHOTO

  • Volunteers help at one of Adopt-A-Family of Franklin County’s previous collection days. FILE PHOTO

  • A recipient talks with organizer Libby Kolasinski during a previous Adopt-A-Family pickup day. FILE PHOTO



Staff Writer
Thursday, December 06, 2018

SOUTH DEERFIELD — There are typically 215 families that benefit from Adopt-A-Family of Franklin County each year, and that number has not changed this year, but a shortage of sponsors has resulted in 30 families still in need of a helping hand.

Libby Kolasinski, coordinator of the charity effort, explained 10 or 11 social agencies are given slots they can fill with families they know are struggling. Sponsors provide an anonymous family with food for all three meals on Christmas Day and at least a couple of gifts.

According to Kolasinski, sponsors are encouraged to purchase one practical gift and one fun gift. Non-perishable foods can accompany the gifts, though a gift card is needed for perishable items such as meat and milk. The charity cannot afford to purchase the gift cards, so a family in need will go without if the sponsor does not provide one.

Kolasinski said other people she knows in charity work have said they are also having trouble meeting demands, which grow every year.

“There are more people in need,” she said. “Parents are asking for things for their children, instead of things for themselves — more so than I’ve ever seen.”

Kolasinski said Adopt-A-Family of Franklin County has operated for at least 20 years.

Karin Anderson, the Women, Infants, & Children (WIC) community coordinator for Franklin and Hampshire counties and the North Quabbin area, has been involved with WIC for three of those years. She said the local WIC office typically gets 50 to 60 slots for families every year.

“The families are so thankful,” Anderson said, adding that WIC tries to rotate as many as possible each year in a fair way. “It’s amazing. Families are in tears sometimes. (Sponsors) are so generous, when they provide for families anonymously, and the family (in need) doesn’t know who’s doing the giving.

“I always get letters of appreciation that I try to pass on to Libby,” she added. “I can’t say enough about the program. It actually brings tears to my eyes, just to see the joy and the relief on the families’ faces.”

WIC is a state and federally funded nutrition program that, according to its website, “provides healthy foods, nutrition education, breastfeeding support and referrals to healthcare and other services, free of charge, to Massachusetts families who qualify.”

Kolasinski said there are nearly 400 adults and roughly 750 children involved with Adopt-A-Family of Franklin County this year. She said the food and gifts are brought to Holy Family Parish between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 20 and families pick them up the following day.

She said checks are also accepted if someone would like to be a sponsor, but cannot go shopping. Checks made out to Adopt-A-Family of Franklin County can be mailed to: Libby Kolasinski, 140 Russell St., Sunderland, MA 01375.

Kolasinski also said the effort is made possible with the help of roughly 40 volunteers.

More information is available at adoptafamilyfc.org.