Every year, Jim Collins boards an airplane to visit family in New York for the holidays, but before he does that he gives to others here in his community. Collins joined other residents and the clients, staff and volunteers at Josina Lott Residential and Community Services (JLRCS) in adopting the families of the Beach House for the holidays, providing the adults and children living there with presents and a Christmas dinner.
Adopting a family for the holidays has been a tradition at Josina Lott for several years. Executive director Michael Malone believes it is important to give back to the community that gives them so much. JLRCS is a private non-profit organization providing onsite and in home services to adults with mental retardation and other developmental disabilities. Over the years the outpouring of generosity became so great that they were able to adopt more than one family and eventually decided to adopt all of the families served by the Beach House. The Beach House provides emergency shelter to homeless women, children and families.
The residents and clients of JLRCS live on a fixed income, but they enjoy giving to fellow Toledoans facing their own challenges. Collins was able to share his love for football with a young child, “I bought 2 OSU footballs for little boys there. OSU is my favorite team.” The effort was lead by staff member Skip Howe, who inspires JLRCS residents, employees and volunteers to give what they can. Howe has been known to round out the effort personally with his family by purchasing any thing that remains on the holiday wish list of the Beech House residents.
With their united efforts, love and holiday spirit, the people of Josina Lott will provide well over 100 gifts to the families served by the Beach House this Christmas.
Another business adopting a family for the holiday was Signature Bank. The local financial institution chose to take care of the holiday wishes and needs of a local couple with 10 children served by Harbor Behavioral Healthcare. Signature Bank has adopted a family every holiday season since their opening 6 years ago. For the past two years, they have worked with Harbor to find a family.
Signature’s Kim Shaffer reported that employees formed shopping teams a few days before the delivery of gifts. Each shopping team filled their shopping carts with gifts for four of the family members. In addition to toys for the kids, gifts included a Costco membership for the family and a grocery store gift card to buy food for a Christmas dinner. Shaffer serves on Harbor’s board of directors.
Jean Drees, Harbor’s marketing director, was thrilled with Signature Bank’s generosity, “I am proud that all 74 employees at Signature Bank participated in adopting a family from our “Operation Santa” program. And we appreciate Kim Shaffer’s leadership in this generous endeavor.” Harbor’s “Operation Santa” program collects toys, matches families with businesses wishing to “adopt” them for the holidays, and does whatever else is necessary to assure that every child they serve gets a present at Christmas. Harbor Behavioral Healthcare provides comprehensive mental healthcare services, and their clinicians will give gifts to over 500 children this season.
Christine Senack is a Toledo-based consultant helping non-profit organizations work smarter for the greater good of our community. Connect with her on www.facebook.com or follow at www.twitter.com/csenack.