Source: Sherman Publications

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Adopt a family this Christmas

by Susan Bromley

December 04, 2013

Brandon Twp.- On Tuesday afternoon, it was a true group effort to decorate the Christmas tree at the Nature's Way Adult Foster Care Home.

For some of the clients at this home that serves mentally and/or physically challenged adults, there might be no presents under the tree without the compassion of the community and the Ortonville Community Emergency Fund's Adopt a Family Program.

"OCEF absolutely helps all these group homes and half of my folks have nobody," said Kim Bishop, owner of Nature's Way AFC, a 20-bed facility, as well as Country Acre AFC, a six-bed facility, both located in the township. "They don't get phone calls on Friday night saying, 'Hey mom, what'd you do today?' They don't get phone calls at all. Churches and youth groups that come out are instrumental for these folks that have no one in their lives."

For the past decade in which Bishop has owned the afc home, OCEF has been vital in providing Christmas gifts to the residents, several of whom have court-appointed guardians that have no day-to-day contact with their wards.

In October, Bishop gives clients of the Nature's Way home paper and pens.

"I ask them to write down their dreams, to make a wish list," she said. "They ask for gift cards to the dollar store, boots, clothing items. They don't have any family, they don't get new clothes."

Bishop notes that the OCEF gifts are very important, since most of her clients are living on a $44 allowance per month from the state to use for recreation and their personal hygiene items. Some of the women, she adds, love make-up, perfume and body lotions, and "look like a million bucks with nowhere to go."

Penny P., who is helping to decorate the Nature's Way Christmas tree, is asked what she would like for Christmas and responds that she would like a duffel bag and cardigan sweater. Daniel C. proudly shows his Detroit Tigers memorabilia around his bed in a room he shares with three others. He would like to add to his collection.

The residents also enjoy watching movies and love when the Brandon firefighters bring them fruit baskets every year at Christmas. They are already asking Bishop about that gift and while some are diabetics, when it is fruit, she tells them, "Just eat the whole stinkin' basket," as they enjoy it so much.

The residents of the area group homes are just one part of the community that benefits from OCEF's "Adopt a family" program. OCEF will also help the families of eight Oakland County Jail inmates this year, as well as approximately 200 families residing within the Brandon School District who are low-income.

The non-profit OCEF has a Christmas tree at St. Anne Church, adorned with gift request tags, waiting for members of the community to select and "Adopt a family."

Families come in all sizes, notes Karyn Milligan, director of the OCEF food pantry and Christian Services, and members of the community can help in any way they choose, whether by adopting a large family, or a family of one, or any size in between. Many of the requests can be fulfilled by purchasing $25 gift card to various stores.

Milligan notes that while many donors would prefer to purchase a specific gift, the purchase of a gift card allows families to retain their dignity and allows them to purchase gifts for their loved ones, whom they know best, and gives them joy in making personal gift selections.

For more information on how to adopt a family this Christmas, call Karyn Milligan at 248-627-3965, ext. 103.