Walkie-talkies, art supplies, legos and scooters are on the wishlist this season. For the 13th year in a row, New College is preparing to participate in the Manatee County Adopt-a-Family program, which provides holiday gifts to families and children in need in the Manatee area.
This year, New College has adopted two families with 12 children ranging from 20 months old to 13 years old. The program, spearheaded by Michelle “Shelley” Wilbur, has been extremely successful since it began.
“We started participating because we wanted to do something collectively as a community,” Wilbur said in an email. “I think the first year we started out with one family, but we got such a huge response we kept adopting more families.”
Every year, Manatee Adopt-a-Family provides gifts to more than 1,500 families and 4,500 children. In the last 12 years, New College has given gifts to 47 families and 134 children.
“I think the main goal of Adopt-a-Family is to provide gifts to families who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford presents for their children and New College wants to help with that goal,” Wilbur explained.
The children’s wishlist was sent in an email to the student body on Nov. 10. Items range from small toys to sports equipment to learning activities. Families also listed clothing (with a gift receipt) as a item of need. Anyone may bring gifts, labeled with their recipient’s name and family number, to Cook Hall room 204 by Dec. 2. The gifts do not have to be wrapped, and if there is no time to shop, cash donations are also acceptable.
“One year someone went around the dorms collecting spare change from everyone and brought it over here to help purchase gifts we still needed,” Wilbur said. “It’s amazing how much you can collect when everyone is throwing in just a little change.”
Wilbur keeps track of everything that is donated and what is still needed, so it is important to notify her if you plan to purchase a gift on the wishlist.