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Published November 29, 2010, 12:00 AM

Wishes granted for area families

YWCA coordinates ‘adopt a family’
Margo and Terry Askin’s grandkids have never known the names of the adoptive families they’ve sponsored by providing gifts at Christmas in recent years.

By: Patrick Springer, INFORUM

Margo and Terry Askin’s grandkids have never known the names of the adoptive families they’ve sponsored by providing gifts at Christmas in recent years.

But they know something of their circumstances by the wish lists they’re provided by the YWCA Cass Clay on behalf of anonymous women and children in need.

“They’re not asking for the latest gizmo toy,” Margo Askin says. “It’s a warm winter coat; it’s new ‘jammies.’ For the moms, it’s always household goods. It’s pots and pans. It’s always something practical.”

The YWCA coordinates the “adopt a family” program during the holidays for families in its transitional housing program – mothers and their children who once were in its homeless shelter.

This year, 35 families were available for adoption, with seven families still in need of sponsors by Dec. 15.

The program allows individuals, families, businesses or groups to donate Christmas gifts, matching donors to families whose needs match their ability to contribute, says Erin Prochnow, the YWCA Cass Clay’s executive director.

On average, she says, it costs adopters about $75 per person, so adopting a mother and two children would cost about $225.

Now a retired librarian, Margo Askin once worked at the YWCA. Because she knew about clients’ needs – often young mothers escaping domestic violence – she knew it would be a worthy cause.

And when the contributions are shared among three generations of her family, including the Askins’ five children and 10 of their grandchildren, it’s not a burden to give, she says.

“We do it as a family,” she adds. “We ask for a family that has multiple kids. The grandkids go out and help with the shopping. It’s not a big deal when you spread it out.”

The Askins, who have participated in the YWCA’s “adopt a family” program for about five years, are some of the more established participants.

Nicole Reak Turchin and the members of her dinner club, which fluctuates from 10 to 30 at their monthly gatherings, are one of the newest sponsors. This will be their first Christmas in the “adopt a family” program.

“I just thought it would be a great way for all of us to pool our resources together,” Turchin says. “We’ve all been very blessed. During the holidays, it was a good reminder that we should be giving back to the community.”

The dinner club has drawn a family, and members have been rounding up gifts, which will be dropped off at the YWCA for distribution to the anonymous family.

“Overall, I think the family will do really well,” says Turchin, who is collecting the gifts. “It would probably fill up the back of a truck, actually.”

How to help

  • The “Adopt a Family” program of the YWCA Cass Clay seeks sponsors to contribute gifts to anonymous mothers and children in need. To receive a family’s wish list or for more information, contact Denise at (701) 232-3449. Gifts must be presented by Dec. 15. The YWCA also has a “Unique Boutique” of donated Christmas gift items that must be presented by Dec. 6.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Patrick Springer at (701) 241-5522