Adopt-a-family program brings holiday spirit to families in need up and down-Valley |

Adopt-a-family program brings holiday spirit to families in need up and down-Valley

Kelley Cox Post Independent

For over two decades, the Salvation Army’s Adopt-a-Family Program has paired local sponsors with families in need to ensure they have a meaningful holiday.

Beginning in October, the Salvation Army in Glenwood Springs starts asking households in need to complete a wish list, which depending on the family’s circumstance may include clothing, food, toys and other goods.

Adopt-a-Family Volunteer Coordinator Jill Wentling then turns over those wish lists to local sponsors who “adopt” a family or families.

“There’s not really a set dollar amount,” Wentling said. “It’s whatever is in your heart, that you would like to provide for that family.”

Sponsors, which include local businesses and residents, then hand-deliver those wrapped toys and other goods to their adopted families by Christmas.

According to Glenwood Springs Salvation Army Coordinator Karen Lee, the Adopt-a-Family Program has practically doubled in size over the years but remains small in order to focus on local families.

In 2010, the program helped between 10 and 12 families whereas in 2019 it will serve 20 to 25 households in need from Snowmass Village to Parachute.

“This isn’t about getting what’s on the wish list,” Lee said. “It’s about someone trying to help. It’s the spirit of Christmas.”

Wentling, who has helped coordinate the Adopt-a-Family Program for nearly 10 years called the experience incredibly rewarding.

Wentling also recalled the first time she hand-delivered gifts to a struggling father and his two children in New Castle, whose Christmas could have been bleak otherwise.

“His little kids were smiling and they just couldn’t believe these packages were for them that I was bringing in,” Wentling said. “The father was so grateful. He had tears in his eyes…he couldn’t believe it.”

Those interested in adopting a family this holiday season may do so by contacting Wentling at 970-379-4075 or Lee at the Salvation Army’s office in Glenwood Springs at 970-945-6976.

Sponsors have until Dec. 19 to sign up.

“The families that receive these gifts are so grateful,” Wentling said.

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