This is the time of year when hearts overflow with gratitude and we see it all throughout our community. We are truly grateful for the incredible generosity our donors and volunteers show us all year round, and especially, right now through our Adopt a Family program. Meet Patty Goldstein and her daughter, Alison. The Goldstein family is one amazing example of this giving spirit. They have been participating in the program for 10 years and counting. This mother-daughter duo shares their family’s history of holiday giving and inspires us all to think a little more about others.
I remember calling Temple Israel to see if they had a holiday donation program and they were full at the time. They referred me to JFS and the rest is history. I remember that the economy was still bad around the time we started to participate. I wanted to teach the kids that even though their dad had a job and they would get gifts for the holidays, there were a lot of families that didn’t have the money to buy even necessities.
I grew up in a large Christian family. My father was disabled in a fall and we had financial struggles. We were sometimes the recipient of a mysterious box left on our porch at the holidays. The doorbell would ring but no one was there, only a box. The box had different things sometimes – nonperishable food, holiday treats, and usually an envelope of cash. It usually made my parents cry. Having that experience made me realize the meaning of the holidays and giving to those in need. And it doesn’t matter what religion you are or what you celebrate, the holidays are tough for parents who want to give their children something special, but their circumstances sometimes make that difficult.
We usually would try to all to go together to shop for our family’s gifts, but that got harder as the kids got older and had activities. I also tried to make sure I took the kids with me to JFS offices to drop off our gifts, so the kids could see how much need there is – even in a community that has so much, and also to see just how generous people are to total strangers in need.
I encourage other families, groups or individuals to get involved. We usually choose a family of four like ours, and with kids close in age to our kids. This made it more fun for the kids to get involved and pick out gifts for the family. Also, as a mixed-faith family, it doesn’t matter to us what the family’s background is. It is also not something that has to break your budget. We try to shop sales and use rewards and coupons we’ve earned throughout the year. It is really humbling when families ask for basic necessities like socks, or household supplies like blankets or dishes.
I would want the recipient person or families that we have adopted over the years to know that we really took a lot of time, effort and thought into your wish lists and hopefully made your holidays happy and memorable.
I have been participating with my family for as long as I can remember. I have been participating by myself for about 4 – 5 years.
My mom and I always went shopping together, and even though I am away at school, we will always send pictures to each other. I originally began “adopting” my own family as a community service project for my bat mitzvah and continued because it makes me feel fulfilled knowing that I am helping out others. I was able to use some of my babysitting money to purchase gifts on my own.
I think it is so important to give to others especially those who may need a little extra help. While so many people get lavish gifts around the holiday time, so many of the families put necessities such as coats and boots on their lists. That is why I find it so important to give. So many people in need don’t even think about gifts or luxuries, and just for a little bit maybe they won’t feel as stressed if they receive a little help.
I would want the recipient family to know that they are doing the best that they can, and I wish I could help them out more. I also just hope they have a joyful holiday season full of love.
We are so fortunate to have adopted so many families out. There are still more individuals and families in need. Please call Lindsay directly 248.592.2309