As the holiday season quickly approaches, we are all reminded to give thanks for what we have in our lives. But for families who are struggling, especially those with young children, the holidays are often a difficult time of year.
Each year, with the help of the community and volunteers, Child Abuse Listening Mediation (CALM) provides hundreds of children and families in Santa Barbara with holiday cheer by delivering gifts, basic supplies, food and festive decorations during the holiday season through the Adopt-a-Family program.
CALM identifies families in need, to whom they have provided supportive services and counseling, and then coordinates with staff to determine each particular family’s needs. Last year, CALM supporters adopted 136 families in Santa Barbara. This year, CALM has received more than 150 wish lists from struggling families, so with the support and generosity of the Santa Barbara community, CALM is hoping to reach those 150-plus families and possibly even more dealing with the devastation of child abuse and neglect.
Wish lists are modest and help meet the family’s basic needs. One family who needs to be adopted requested a doll, a pair of shoes and some clothes for the 2-year-old, a tea set for the 6-year-old and shoes for the 23-year-old mother. CALM’s Adopt-a-Family is a unique way to give back to the community and support families in need. CALM encourages those interested to join together with friends, family and even co-workers in the spirit of giving, and make a difference this holiday season by adopting a family.
This year, CALM is looking to local businesses to get into the spirit of giving and consider adopting one or multiple families as a team. Already, Deckers Outdoor Corp. has signed up to adopt a family, and the company’s corporate marketing team is planning a shopping trip to purchase gifts and other basic essentials for their adopted family.
“We are thrilled to be participating again in this year’s Adopt-A-Family outreach through CALM,” said Jessica Buttimer, chief brand officer at Deckers. “Our team participated in the program together last year and enjoyed the experience so much that we decided to plan a team event around our shopping efforts this year. It has become our holiday tradition.”
Other local businesses and schools that have worked together to adopt families through CALM include Underground Energy; Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital; Bartlett, Pringle & Wolf LLP; the Parsons Group; Banana Republic; Lucky Penny Press; Marymount of Santa Barbara’s first-grade class; and Montecito Union School’s sixth-grade Leadership Class.
Participating individuals or groups can purchase a particular gift from an assigned family’s wish list, or leave the shopping to CALM. Any contribution is appreciated warmly welcomed. CALM is requesting that all gifts be turned into CALM by Friday, Dec. 10, to allow therapists the time to deliver the gifts to the families before the holidays. Through the community’s help, the children and families CALM serves will feel the sense of belonging and care from the community.
— Jennifer Guess is a publicist representing CALM.