The following comes from a December 23 Angelus article:
On December 19, Archbishop José Gomez joined Adopt-A-Family volunteers as they made house calls to some of the poorest neighborhoods in Los Angeles, stopping by apartments on Skid Row to deliver Christmas gifts, groceries and clothing to families in need.
The archbishop drove with a group of volunteers to their first stop, an old building of tiny living spaces in a crime-ridden area. The woman who answered the door said that the father had to work that day and the children were in day care.
Archbishop Gomez also strongly believes in meeting one-on-one with those in need — something Pope Francis terms the “culture of encounter,” which teaches the meaning of service and imitates Christ’s example, Archbishop Gomez said, adding that our society is losing that connection because of busy schedules, technology and fear of violence.
Adopt-A-Family takes special care to get to know the families in order to better meet their needs. Starting in August, volunteers visit each family to learn about their struggles, hobbies and Christmas wish list.
The project started with 10 families and has grown over the last 25 years to serve 503 families with 2,000 children. The program gives each family a two-week supply of groceries, along with household goods and Christmas gifts of toys, clothing and school supplies for the children.
The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels runs the program to serve families who are outside of the help of government services or other charitable programs.
If memory serves, “Adopt-A-Family” was begun by Monsignor Terrance Fleming, a former Moderator of the Curia for the Archdiocese. A terrific administrator and multi-tasker. The ultimate “can-do” guy. But most importantly, a man with a big smile, a big heart. May God continue to bless Terry for this great program of hands-on help—as well as for the thousands of other contributions he has made. Sound like hero worship? It is. I hope that I am safe in still considering Terry a friend.
Store up for yourselves heavenly treasure ! This was what Our Lord said. I do not think dolls, teddy bears and toys will bring families closer to Christ.
Pilar, please do not begrudge the toys given to these children. The Lord said that just a cup of cold water in his name would be rewarded. My own grandchildren are often so pampered that recently our youngest daughter made her children give away some of their good toys that they rarely use because other children often have none. We do need to share, and often from our own surplus.
Ask any missionary, and the will tell you that you can’t convert hungry people. Ask any family that can’t afford toys for the kids what Christmas is like. We are Catholics, which means that we share, we serve the poor, we feed the hungry, we find shelter for the homeless. We who have much are required by our faith to help others. Who knows, a young child who got a doll or toy from the Archbishop may come to church sometime in their life, and it will all be worth it.