January 2021
Treasure Coast Ecclesia
Palm Beach County, Florida
Recipient: Adopt-a-Family   Initiative: Bags of Love (Care Packs) Initiative 2020

The Treasure Coast FL ecclesia assembled 24 care packs in January and delivered them to Adopt-a-Family shelter on January 23.

Most all of the contents were purchased from dollartree.com online. The bags themselves were sewn by ecclesial members from fabric left over from previous sewing projects. Each bag came with handles. The bags contained a wide variety of personal care items. We also included a paper pad plus pen and two one-gallon zip-lock bags. The zip-lock bags were for placing wet hygiene items such as toothbrush in. On advice from Adopt-a-Family, we prepared six bags for men and 18 bags for women. A number of us loaded the items into the bags in our garage and then put them into our car. 

Our selected charity, Adopt-a-Family (adoptafamilypbc.org), was chosen on the basis of their ratings and that they operate shelters and longer-term housing with a strong focus on families. They are a large (but totally local) charity, founded in 1983. Local individuals and families, businesses, other charities and local government support Adopt-a-Family with enthusiasm. Their annual spending is around $7 million with about half of that coming from local government. At our visit, their representative said they typically host about 300 families and 1000 children (in our county there are reported to be about 4500 homeless children). Our bags were promptly transferred to  a case manager who works to place homeless families in motels until something better can be arranged. Our bags were a “drop-in-the-bucket” compared to all they do and need, but nonetheless important.

We asked about how many bags they can use, and, of course the answer was “all you can provide”. We learned the bags have to arrive in small batches as the charity lacks storage space. We also clarified that they can use backpacks of elementary children school supplies and backpacks for those who age out of foster care. (This will be another Garden outreach initiative, coming later in 2021, Lord willing). They identified for us an agency here that specifically works with 18-25 year-olds who have been in foster care and are now on their own, Vitanova, vitanovainc.org.

Pictures:  The main office facility of Adopt-A-Family, Lake Worth FL and a help-yourself box of children’s books at the office parking lot. Assembly day at garage. We worked outdoors because it’s nice out even in winter in south Florida and because of Covid-19 risks.