Chip in to help a local family this holiday season

Needy in our midst seek essentials

Sherri Nelsen of Upper Des Moines Opportunity keeps track of the Adopt-A-Family applications and lists. Her office is in the building at 620 Michigan St. By the time all the gifts are collected the office will be overflowing with wrapped packages. times pilot photo by dolores cullen.

The annual Adopt-A-Family program is in full swing with 21 families and 20 elderly individuals/couples on the adoption list. 

Upper Des Moines Opportunity and the Storm Lake Times Pilot co-sponsor the program, matching generous individuals, families, businesses, clubs, classrooms and church groups with those less fortunate in our community, to provide the Christmas experience they might otherwise not have.

Last year, 280 families and seniors were adopted, thanks to your generosity. This year UDMO started with a list of around 100. Quite a few have been adopted, but the list will grow as more families sign up. 

“These are people with low income or those having a difficult time,” says UDMO Specialist Sherri Nelsen, who works alongside Maggie Reyes, longtime director of the program. 

Unlike in the past, this year’s Adopt-A-Family is only for children ages 0-18 — not adult children and not parents and grandparents. The change comes down the chain from Upper Des Moines superiors, said Nelsen. 

Seniors age 60 and over are still eligible.

Many of the families are asking for the essentials this year. “For the most part it’s warm clothes,” said Nelsen. “They are asking for help with food and gas. The cost of living has gone up so much.”

All the families are from Buena Vista County and live at less than 150% of the poverty level.

“It’s fun to help people who need it,” says Nelsen, in her second year at UDMO. I see kids’ faces light up when they go to the Birthday Room (a feature at UDMO).”

The Storm Lake Times Pilot will update the list — in print and online — until all have been adopted.

How to adopt a family:

1. Choose a family or senior. Note the code number

2. Call UDMO at 712-732-1757, 9 a.m.-noon or 1-4 p.m. weekdays to report the number of the family chosen. UDMO will provide more specific information on the family or email Maggie Reyes at [email protected].

3. Go shopping! Needed are non-perishable foods to make a holiday meal special, or a gift certificate for groceries. Many donors also choose to include gifts for children, clothing, a card of well wishes or some other personal touch.

4. Wrap and deliver. Your gifts can be placed in a box or bag labeled on each side with the code number of the family. Drop items off at UDMO in Storm Lake between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. by Dec. 20. Volunteers will make sure the family gets it by Christmas. 

Adopt-A-Family list:




#36 Girl 15
#39 Girl 5
#66 Boys 14, 10
#70 Girl 15
#72 Girls 16, 13
#74 Girls 12, 6; boys 9, 1½
#76 Girls 14, 5
#80 Girl 15, boy 9
#81 Girls 12, 9, 8
#82 Boys 4, 1
#85 Boys 17, 15, 12
#88 Boy, 3
#89 Boys 18, 12
#91 Girls 12, 10, 8
#93 Boys 18, 11 mo.; girl 8
#95 Girls 17, 12
#96 Girls 17, 10
#97 Boy 16
#98 Boy 11
#100 Boy 9, girl 7
#101 Girls 15, 13, 7, 7, 3, 1; boy 10
Elderly Christmas list
#9 Elderly female, 60
#11 Elderly female 75
#12 Elderly female 66
#13 Elderly male 77
#15, #16 Elderly male 63, elderly  female 63
#21, #22 Elderly male 86, elderly female 76
#23 Elderly female 60
#28 Elderly male 64
#34, #35 Elderly male 83, elderly female 71
#37 Elderly female 63
#38 Elderly female 60
#41 Elderly female 62
#42 Elderly female 61
#43 Elderly female 71
#44 Elderly male 81
#45 Elderly female 61
#46 Elderly male 77    


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