Volunteers label to prepare them for distribution to children adopted through CAC’s portal. (CAC)

The Adopt-a-Family portal of the Community Assistance Center (CAC) has opened to provide gifts to more than 1,400 children in the Dunwoody and Sandy Springs area whose families need help for the holidays.

CAC invites individuals, groups, congregations and corporations to browse through information on families and “adopt” them, making a commitment to provide holiday gifts for those children. The nonprofit community assistance organization expects more than 1,600 children to participate.

“The impact of the Adopt-a-Family program cannot be understated,” Francis K. Horton III, CEO of CAC, said in a release. “For the children in this program, this may be the only luxury they experience this holiday season.”

Donors provided gifts for more than 1,500 children from hundreds of children in 2021. On average, the amount spent per child was from $75 to $100.

Each family registers with CAC and provides documentation to show their level of need to qualify for the program, ensuring that the aid goes to those who need it the most, CAC Youth Programs Coordinator Christina Kennett said.

The portal displays each child’s gender, age, and preferences to allow for a gift that acknowledges the child as an individual. The Adopt-a-Family portal was built pro bono for CAC’s use by CJ Sutherland of Atomic Marshmallow Web Design.

“Participating in the CAC Adopt-a-Family program was a great opportunity for our team to give back and spend some time together during the holidays,” said Kat Dawson, Account Manager at Cisco Systems and 2021 Adopt-a-Family program participant. In 2021, Dawson and some coworkers pooled resources to “adopted” 50 children from a dozen families.

Many families also donate their time to organize and distribute the gifts. Volunteer opportunities are available in November and December for individuals and small groups.

For more information on the Adopt-a-Family program, or to see profiles and select a family to help this holiday season, visit www.ourcac.org/adoptafamily. For those community members and organizations who are interested in adopting a larger number of children, contact Kennett directly at adoptafamily@ourcac.org. To donate directly to the program, visit www.ourcac.org/donate-online.

Donated bicycles are ready for distribution to children in Dunwoody and Sandy Springs. (CAC)

Bob Pepalis covers Sandy Springs for Rough Draft Atlanta and Reporter Newspapers.