Adopt-a-Family epitomizes the holiday spirit
MILLERTON – There are so many good causes to support during the holidays, each one as important as the next. The Adopt-a-Family program, run out of Millerton, is one such charitable program — a nonprofit annual campaign that collects and then distributes brand-new toys and winter clothing to children ranging from newborns all the way up to teenagers.Businesswoman and consummate civic leader Stacey Moore runs Adopt-a-Family out of Moore & More Printing, with the help of numerous volunteers. Moore said she’s already collected many items for this Christmas season, but that doesn’t mean she’s ready to call it a day quite yet.“We’re right in the throws of it right now,” Moore said. “Big time. The community has been phenomenal, giving money and toys before we even got the word out. But we already have 90 families right now and expect at least another 20 or so.”Last year there were 140 families registered and 350 children, whom Moore made sure received clothing, toys and as much as possible of what they requested on their wish lists. The program covers families living within the Webutuck and Pine Plains school districts. Donors can contribute by donating actual items — unwrapped, new toys, sports gear, games, etc., or new clothing — or, of course, cash. People can also contribute by adopting individual children or whole families, which means they would pay for a child or a family to be outfitted with enough winter clothing to last for the season as well as with toys and games to go under the Christmas tree.This year, as in previous years, Moore has received a tremendous amount of support from the local equestrian community.“All of the horse farms in the area adopted 50 of our current families,” she said, adding the local Lions clubs have participated as well. “And then we have the Webutuck school system, Salisbury School, the churches, Maplebrook School, several individuals — they’ve all adopted families. What’s happening big time is that people are coming in and saying they would rather adopt families than exchange gifts with their own families, which is just wonderful.”Local merchants are contributing in their own way as well. Saperstein’s in Millerton is offering a 10 percent discount on all clothing purchased at the store that is to be donated to the Adopt-a-Family program. Additionally, Moore uses the money raised for clothing at Saperstein’s, spending roughly $15,000 each year on winter gear for the children. Likewise, Millerton’s Oblong Books & Music is offering a 20 percent discount for any items purchased that are to be donated to the charity.There’s an ongoing list of items that are popular and in demand for the children this year. That list includes, but is not limited to: arts and crafts items, including sketch pads; basketballs and soccer balls; dinosaur toys and figurines; any horse items; Legos; Bakugan spinning tops; Webkinz stuffed animals; hair care items and make up for teenage girls; locker kits; various baby items (diapers, baby wipes, lotions, oils, shampoos, clothing); and books. Adopt-a-Family is also working with the Webutuck Booster Club to provide Webutuck hoodies to those who request them.Moore said despite the bad economy, people continue to make donations.“Honestly I was surprised because everybody is scraping by to do the best they can day by day, and yet literally nobody is thinking twice to give Christmas to somebody else,” she said. “I just don’t know how to sum it up. I know for me I always feel good when I can pay it forward, but each year to watch the program grow from 50 kids to 350 kids and see so many people involved in giving reaffirms how I feel about this community. We live in a great place with kind-hearted and generous individuals.”If there are any funds leftover from the holiday rush, Adopt-a-Family uses that extra money to pay for under-privileged children to attend Millerton’s summer camp. This past summer the program sent six children to summer camp. Moore is hopeful it will be able to do so again in 2012.