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 links individuals and families in need with kind donors in the community.

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 selection process will begin around the first week of November, but you may begin sending in your applications immediately.

In November, we will send you an assortment of family stories to review. You have 3 days to select and notify us of the family you wish to adopt. The families you do not select will return to the pool of applicants to give other donors a chance to adopt them. You may begin buying gifts to fulfill your family’s Wish List once we have confirmed your selection.

Why do I only have 3 days to pick a family?

When we send you the assortment of family stories, these applicants 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 3 days of receiving the stories. If you do not make a selection from your matched families and respond within 3 days, your matches will re-enter the pool to be matched to other potential donors, and we cannot guarantee that they will remain available for your selection. (i.e. you may have to start the matching process again).

Our goal is to maintain a 100 percent adoption rate and do our best to give these families the happiest holiday season 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 is in need of this holiday season. Donors may purchase the items on the list or any other items they would like for the family. The donated gifts are at the donor’s discretion. Please provide a detailed itemized listing for all items donated to the family.

Where do I drop off the gifts?

Gifts can be dropped off at our Community Clearinghouse located at 2100 N. Nimitz Hwy.

What is the deadline to drop off gifts?

The drop-off deadline is Saturday, Dec. 10, 2016. We will be accepting 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.

What are the Community Clearinghouse’s hours of operation?

The Community Clearinghouse is open on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. From Dec. 5 to Dec. 9, the Clearinghouse will extend its hours through 6:30 p.m. to accommodate donors who would like to drop off items after work. Additionally, it will be open on Saturday (Nov. 26, Dec. 3 and Dec. 10) from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. (noon) for donor convenience.

Do the gifts have to be new?

Yes, all Wish List items must be new. You may wrap the items in festive paper as long as they are properly labeled with the Family Code (unique identifying code assigned to the family).

If you wish to give additional items not on the Wish List that may be gently used, we humbly ask that you remember these are holiday gifts and consider the condition of the items carefully before including them.

If you would like to make a general donation of gently used items to the Community Clearinghouse, 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 because Adopt A Family is not a financial assistance program, we are unable to give families cash donations. Instead, we will convert your monetary contribution in its exact value into a gift card to an all-in-one store, like Walmart, Kmart, Target, etc., that the family can use.

What kind of families participate in this program?

Most of the participants in the Adopt A Family program are homeless or are low-income individuals or families living in emergency shelters and transitional housing. 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?

When the Community Clearinghouse receives the Wish List items, we distribute them to the families through their referring agency.

Can I meet the family and deliver the gifts myself?

Yes, some families are open to meeting their donors. If you would like to meet the 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 donors.

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

Yes, you can make a monetary gift to our Good Neighbor Fund online at www.helpinghandshawaii.org or by mailing a check to 2100 N. Nimitz Hwy., Honolulu, HI 96819.

You may also drop off 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. You may also choose to give gift cards for restaurants, groceries, clothing, educational toys and multi-purpose items (all-in-one stores like Walmart, Kmart, Target, etc.).

Can I adopt a family from a neighbor island?

No, unfortunately, the Adopt A Family program is only available on Oahu at this time.

More Information About Adopt A Family

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

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