Local groups of all sizes, from book clubs to corporations, are “adopting” families and shopping for the items on their wish lists. CALM will distribute the gifts in December.
CALM had a small program to start, but it grew exponentially last year and again this year, according to Associate Director Deborah Holmes.
The organization works to prevent, assess and treat child abuse by providing services for children and families, and therapists who make home visits help write up the list of families recommended for the Adopt-a-Family program. This year, the list includes 163 families, and 132 already have donors.
Many families aren’t just struggling with parenting, substance abuse or mental health issues, but are also dealing with financial hardships. Over the holidays, Holmes said it’s important to help those families meet their basic needs and reduce their sense of isolation within the community.
“We’re countywide so there’s a lot of need, and there are a lot of families we come in contact with,” she said.
CALM has expanded its North County office and expects it to soon be as large as its South County operation, she added.
On Tuesday, the seven-member corporate marketing team at Deckers Outdoor Corp. went shopping for the family of six they adopted this holiday season.
The parents and four children all asked for shoes — convenient for the Deckers teams, communications coordinator Sean Knotts noted.
Knotts and other employees shopped at La Cumbre Plaza for gift cards, toys and other items on the family’s wish list, which will be given to the family by CALM therapists in December. Other Deckers departments also have adopted families this year, as they did last year.
Employees enjoyed the experience so much last year that they wanted to do it again, and make the shopping trips a team event, chief brand officer Jessica Buttimer said.
In addition to individual donors, some businesses and schools that have adopted families this year 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, according to publicist Jennifer Guess.