Be part of the Jonnycake Center of Westerly’s magical Adopt-a-Family program! This annual program provides residents with financial assistance to purchase holiday meals and gifts for children.
To register as an Adoptee individual or family who can benefit from financial assistance for holiday meals and presents, contact Jonnycake Social Services.
To register as a Donor who can provide gift cards or financial assistance for neighbors, contact Lee Eastbourne, Executive Director.
The Adopt-a-Family program has helped bring holiday magic to thousands of local children and people since its inception.
Before the pandemic, volunteer groups from throughout the southern Rhode Island region would visit the Jonnycake Center of Westerly to sort and distribute a multitude of toys and gifts that concerned citizens from the community had donated for the program. The Center’s Food Pantry would distribute meals and supplies so that no neighbor would have to go without a traditional holiday dinner.
In 2020, faced with the challenge of continuing to serve the community while protecting public health during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Center reinvented its Adopt-a-Family program.
Instead of inviting large groups of volunteers to the Center in order to accept, quarantine, sort, and distribute physical presents for every registered family, the Center provided financial assistance for each family in an equivalent amount of what the gifts would have cost. Each adoptee family received a supply of gift cards to local retailers so that parents could make their own unique and personal choices for their children’s gifts, as well as reduce the likelihood of community-based COVID-19 transmission.
The Food Pantry also offered gift cards to Westerly-area grocers so that Adoptees could select their own ingredients for their holiday meals.
As a result of the retooled program, families of 498 local children gained access to financial assistance for gifts, and 1,214 neighbors from 447 households received assistance to purchase holiday meals in 2020. Based on the success of the restructured program, the same model will be used for 2021.