The holiday season at Inn from the Cold is a busy time. This past December we experienced a higher than normal number of families seeking support at our family emergency shelter. For example, in December 2016 we sheltered an average of 64 individuals per night, or 18 families. This past December that number was 81 individuals or 24 families per night. This increase meant that during the holidays there was more families without a place to call home on Christmas Day.
Each year we host Adopt-a-Family; a unique program where community members can connect on a meaningful level with a family in shelter, or being housed and supported by the Inn in community. Through the process of interviewing and creating a family profile complete with a needs list, donors are provided the opportunity to create special holiday memories by purchasing and wrapping gifts specific to the family they have ‘adopted’.
This year Adopt-a-Family supported 72 families: 29 in-community-housed families and 43 in-shelter families. There were 60 unique donor matches, 34 of which had been involved with Adopt-a-Family in the previous year. Donors consisted of families, corporations, groups of friends, individuals and community groups.
Closer to Christmas we had an influx of new families come to the shelter and community stepped up to ensure each family had something special to open on Christmas morning. Our friends from Knox United Church made financial donations to help us purchase gifts to support families that came to stay at the Inn after the cut-off date for Adopt-a-Family. As well, we our amazing volunteers came in just days before Christmas Day to ensure every gift was wrapped and addressed to the proper child and family members.
We asked the Robins family to reflect on their experience this year and they expressed nothing but gratitude for the support they received. The family said, “thank you for your generosity and kindness given to us during this holiday season. We were provided with the many items we needed thanks to the Adopt-a-Family program. May the good karma be with you and your loved ones. Thank you to the amazing group that gave us the necessities we needed!”
Thanks to all donors, volunteers, and staff who made Adopt-a-Family special for Inn from the Cold children and families this year. We could not do the work we do without the incredible community support we receive. You truly warmed the hearts of families and staff and made a difference in the lives of children who without your support would not have felt the spirit of the season embrace them with its promise of hope, love and joy.