In the Greater Philadelphia area, there are thousands of families suffering from the devastating effects of cancer. For many, the consequences of cancer reach far beyond health problems. With tens of thousands of dollars spent on chemotherapy, radiation, and other treatments, it can be near impossible for families to afford the rest of their household bills. This holiday season, it is possible to make those families’ holidays a little better with the Adopt-a-Family Program.
Bringing Hope Home is a charity which donates money to families suffering from cancer in the Great Philadelphia area. Many of those donations come through its Adopt-a-Family Program.
The Adopt-a-Family Program began in 2011 when Bringing Hope Home realized how much additional support families needed during the holidays. It pairs organizations and supporters with actual families. When an organization signs up to adopt a family, they sign up to either pay their family’s household bills during the holiday season or to buy gifts for the family. Bringing Hope Home then sends them a card introducing them to their family.
Last year, the Adopt-a-Family Program raised $130,000 monetarily and over $75,000 in gift donations.
Pledges for the Adopt-a-Family Program can be $500, which will pay an adopted family’s gas and electric bills. This essential donation will keep their home warm this winter.
A donation of $1,500 will cover one month of household bills, including lights, heat, and phone. This will also keep food on their table.
A $3,000 pledge adopts two families and is enough for a month of both of their bills.
Instead of paying bills, organizations can pledge to participate in the gift drive instead. This is a great option for people who enjoy picking out gifts. They will be given a specific family including gift requests, which are typically $100 per person. Some families request gift cards. If requested, Bringing Hope Home sometimes allows organizations to personally deliver gifts to their adopted family.
The gift drive is a particularly popular option for West Chester University clubs, as it allows them to make a difference without needing to raise as much money as paying bills requires.
In the past, people have donated nice winter coats, play kitchens, Xboxes, and more.
Caitlin Mahon, the Development Coordinator at Bringing Hope Home said, “Supporters really connect with the families they adopt and more often than not go the extra mile to spoil their adopted family.”
Many organizations on campus raise money for this cause, referring to their adopted families as “holiday families.” West Chester University’s Abbé Society often fundraises hundreds of dollars for a holiday family.
WCU Circle K is also donating all of the proceeds from any fall fundraisers to a holiday family. Circle K’s fundraisers have included bake sales, Pita Pit fundraisers, car washes, and more.
Families are chosen through the Light of Hope Family Grant Program. Those applying for the grant must live in the Greater Philadelphia area. Those who are nominated must, of course, be diagnosed cancer patients actively receiving treatment. Families must be nominated by a member of the oncology team, which can include a social worker, clinician, doctor, or nurse. The grant is a one-time payment of bills, directly to the vendor.
The Adopt-a-Family Program runs from November 1 to the end of the year. If you want to get involved, you can adopt a family now or plan for next holiday season. You can also get involved with the Bringing Hope Home club on West Chester’s campus. Talk to the executive officers in your own clubs about fundraising for Bringing Hope Home.
There is also a Young Professionals HOPE Network, a Miles of HOPE Club, and many other Bringing Hope Home events that you can join or attend. You can also participate in Giving Tuesday on Tuesday, Dec. 2. Check out bhh.donorpages.com/givingtuesday for more info!
Organizations or individuals interested in getting involved can email Caitlin Mahon at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Bringing Hope Home slogan is: “unexpected amazingness for families with cancer.” This holiday season, the Adopt-a-Family does just that. It brings amazingness – in the form of paid bills and gifts – to families who desperately need it.
“It’s truly inspiring to see the community come together to help families going through a tough time,” Mahon said. “Students should definitely join in on the unexpected amazingness through involvement in our Students Bringing HOPE Program! It’s a great opportunity for any club or group of friends to come together make a huge impact on a local family with cancer.”
Theresa Kelly is a third-year student majoring in English literature secondary education. She can be reached at TK780615@wcupa.edu.