WESTFIELD-Project New Hope, Inc. officials in the local office are anticipating approximately 30 veteran and military families will be in need of Christmas gifts this holiday season.
The Operation Jeepers Christmas adopt-a-family program is underway and a Christmas tree has been set up in the Hampton Ponds Plaza office, adorned with ornaments to set the stage for the annual project.
“We have already had some people calling our office wanting to help with wish lists,” said AnnMarie Baxter, office administrator, for the Westfield site at 1029 North Road.
While area residents may choose to go to Project New Hope’s website – projectnewhopema.org – to sign up to “adopt a family,” a call to Baxter is also an option to reach out and help military and veteran families this holiday season.
Baxter noted that the call can be quick and easy since all she requires is the person’s name who is adopting a family and an email address or telephone number for communication purposes.
“I provide them with all the information they need over the phone,” said Baxter.
Baxter can be reached during office hours weekdays from 9 a.m. – noon by calling (413) 315-3873. In the event Baxter is out of the office, she encourages people to leave a message and she will return the call as soon as possible.
Persons interested in adopting a family will receive basic information including the number of children in the family, their ages, and what they want and what they need. The Operation Jeepers Christmas program encourages the donor to purchase three to five gifts for each child.
“There are times when someone may only be able to buy gifts for one child so it may turn out that one family has several adopters,” said Baxter.
Gifts for children range from infants to teens up to age 17.
“We will also have a separate collection box up front next to the tree for new toys and games if someone would like to drop off a gift or two,” said Baxter, noting she can also make accommodations for persons to do a drop off after the office has closed.
While basic items like pajamas are always welcome additions to a gift list, Baxter noted that Lego sets, Disney related toys, craft kits, dinosaur dig kits and slime kits are also popular this holiday season.
“Some of our families mention the kids need pajamas,” said Baxter, noting the need for various sizes and especially for size 6 and larger. “Teens tend to be hard to buy for and we encourage people adopting a family to consider gift cards for them.”
For persons adopting a family, all wrapped and marked gifts must be turned in to the Westfield office by Dec. 11.
“Please know that whatever you can afford to help these families is greatly appreciated,” said Baxter.
The program also encourages donors to include a personal note to the recipient family, and if desired, may include their contact information.
“Many times, the recipient family wishes to send a note of thanks back to the sponsoring family, and this will allow them to do so,” according to the Project New Hope website.