Carol Tudino, social caseworker with the town Department of Senior and Human Services, still needs a few people to adopt families for the holiday, but the application deadline to be included as a recipient has passed.
Every year local residents step up and help families who may be facing hard times and a bleak Christmas. Tudino matches families who apply for the program with people who want to share the season. No one knows who gives and no one knows who receives, but some 40 to 45 families will get a helping hand this year.
Those who have signed up to buy gifts for an adopted family are asked to deliver items to the Swift Community Center at 121 Peirce St. by Dec. 16.
Dec. 7 is the signup for seniors or individuals with disabilities who would like to be part of the Dec. 15 dinner at the Community Center, as well as the deadline to receive a holiday basket. This is similar to the holiday basket program that took place at Thanksgiving.
And Dec. 9 is the deadline for seniors who would like to have a prepared meal delivered to them on Dec. 22.
The phone number for all the programs is 886-8638.
Monetary donations to help with the holiday baskets and prepared meals are always appreciated. Tudino can also use gift cards for teens in the Adopt-A-Family program. Some of those are individual applicants who don’t quite fit in the family category and the gift cards work well for them.
Looking beyond the holiday, Tudino is getting ready for the heating season. The Good Neighbor Energy Fund, which she describes as designed for the working middle class who fall between the cracks, is administered by the Salvation Army. There are qualifications recipients must meet and Tudino can help with that determination.
If people who need help with heating don’t meet requirements of the Good Neighbor Energy Fund Tudino directs them to the low-income home energy assistance program, known as LIHEAP, a federally funded program administered through West Bay Community Action.
During 2010 some 44 local families got help with their heating bills and at least that many are expected to apply this year.