Adopt A Family FAQs for Donors

What is the Adopt A Family program?

Adopt A Family (AAF) is a seasonal program administered by Helping Hands Hawaii during the holiday season that matches individuals and families in need with kind donors in the community. Donors choose a family they would like to assist during the holidays and purchase new items from the family’s Wish List.

How does the Adopt A Family program work?

If you are interested in being an Adopt A Family donor, complete the AAF Donor Information Form or call (808) 440-3800 to fill one out over the phone. The matching process begins in early November, but you may send in your applications immediately.

In November, we will send you a selection of families to review, and you have three (3) calendar days to notify us of the family you wish to adopt. The other families will return to the pool of participants to give other donors a chance to adopt them. You may begin buying gifts for your family once we have confirmed your selection.

Why do I only have three (3) calendar days to pick a family?

When we send you the selection of families to review, they are put on hold and cannot be distributed to other donors until you make your selection. The longer they are on hold, the more difficult it will be to match them up with a donor. Thus, we kindly ask that you select your family within three (3) calendar days to give unselected families an opportunity to be matched with another donor.

If you do not choose a family and respond within three (3) calendar days, then your families will return to the pool of applicants waiting to be matched with a donor. We cannot guarantee they will remain available for your selection, and you may have to start the matching process again with a new selection of families.

Our goal is to ensure that 100 percent of families are adopted during the holidays, and we do our best to give these families the happiest holiday that we can.

Do I have to buy everything on the family’s Wish List?

No, the Wish List is a guide to inform donors of the types of items the family needs this holiday season. Donors may purchase the items on the list or any other items they would like for the family. All gifts are at the donor’s discretion. Please provide us with an itemized list of all gifts donated to the family when you drop off the gifts.

What is the deadline to drop off gifts?

The drop-off deadline is Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017. We accept donor applications through this date, but please allow yourself time to acquire the Wish List items and deliver it to the Community Clearinghouse. Our goal is to deliver the gifts to families before Christmas, so the earlier we receive them from donors the better.

Where do I drop off the gifts?

We are collecting the gifts at our Community Clearinghouse located at 2100 N. Nimitz Hwy. during normal business hours.

What are the Community Clearinghouse’s hours of operation?

The Community Clearinghouse is open on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Business hours will be extended on the following days:

Saturday, Nov. 25th
8 a.m. to Noon

Saturday, Dec. 2nd
8 a.m. to Noon

Monday, Dec. 4th to Friday, Dec. 8th
8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 9th
8 a.m. to Noon

Do the gifts have to be new?

Yes, all items given through Adopt A Family must be new. You may wrap the gifts as long as they are properly labeled with the Family Code (a unique identifying code assigned to each family).

If you would like to make a general donation to the Community Clearinghouse of gently used items, we will gratefully accept them for use by other clients not participating in the Adopt A Family program.

Can I make a monetary donation to the family?

Yes, but only in the form of gift cards. Adopt A Family is not a financial assistance program so we are unable to give families cash donations. Instead, families can benefit from gift cards to all-in-one stores, like Walmart and Target, or grocery stores, like Foodland, Times and Safeway.

What families participate in Adopt A Family?

Most Adopt A Family participants are individuals and families experiencing homelessness or living on extremely low incomes. They are referred to the program and screened for eligibility through an application process that utilizes our network of partnering agencies that specialize in assisting this population.

How do the gifts get to the family?

Gifts are consolidated at the Community Clearinghouse, and we contact each referring agency when we receive all of their families’ gifts. Agencies pick up the items for their families and make arrangements with their clients to deliver the gifts to them.

Can I meet the family and deliver the gifts myself?

Yes, some families are open to meeting donors. If you would like to meet your family, you must indicate this on your application form so we can match you with families who have also indicated on their application that they are open to meeting their donor.

Instead of adopting a family, can I just make a donation?

Yes, monetary gifts are accepted through our Good Neighbor Fund. You can donate online at or by mailing a check to 2100 N. Nimitz Hwy., Honolulu, HI 96819.

You may also drop off gift cards and unwrapped gifts at the Community Clearinghouse, which we will use to fulfill Wish Lists for families who are not selected by donors. Most families are seeking very basic needs, such as clothing, household items, toys for young children and food.

Additionally, community partners are hosting Adopt A Family Wishing Trees. These trees are decorated with paper ornaments that list a single item needed by one of the families. You may select an ornament, buy the gift and return both to the Wishing Tree host. We will collect donated gifts and make sure families receive them. Wishing Tree hosts include Koko Marina Center, Monkeypod Kitchen at Ko Olina, Ka Makana Alii and UFC Gym.

Can I adopt a family from a neighbor island?

No, unfortunately, the Adopt A Family program is only available on Oahu at this time. But, you can contact The Salvation Army for its Angel Tree program or Aloha United Way for information about other holiday initiatives.

More Information About Adopt A Family

For information about the program, email us at or call (808) 440-3800.

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