Corbin H. Crable
[email protected]
Johnson County’s Adopt-a-Family program will soon have a new home at a local church.
The program, designed to help local families in need have a happy holiday and formerly sponsored by the county, has been housed in the Spring Hill Multi-Service  for years. But due to an unstable economy, the county has ended its sponsorship of the program this year, and it will from county offices to the Spring Hill United Methodist Church. Multi-Service Center  Director Linda Rogers was out of town at press time and unavailable for comment on the program’s move this year.
Local resident and church congregation member Leslie Birmingham, who has helped organize the transition, said she’s excited about the church’s adoption of the program, which allows individuals, businesses or organizations in the community to purchase holiday gifts for those families in need.
“People and families can apply (to be part of the program), but financial criteria need to be met,” said Birmingham, who added that families are selected to receive assistance based on their income and the number of people living in their household.
Birmingham said those families who wish to apply to receive assistance can still pick up and fill out application forms at the Spring Hill Multi-Service Center. Those applications must be submitted by Oct. 22.
Individual or business donors who wish to help also must notify the church and the multi-service center by that date.
“We’re just trying to get the word out,” Birmingham said. “This is truly a community effort.”
Those families selected to be a part of the Adopt-a-Family program will receive their gifts and other donated items sometime in early December, Birmingham said.
She said Spring Hill United Methodist isn’t the only church lending a helping hand to the program, however, and that other area churches are offering to send families in need to the program as well.
In addition to the Adopt-a-Family program, Birmingham noted that her church also welcomes those in need at its annual Thanksgiving dinner, which still needs donors and sponsors. The dinner is open not only to those families in need, but also to senior citizens and other individuals in the community who may have nowhere to go and no one with whom to spend the holiday season.
Since this is the first year that the church will host the Adopt-a-Family program, Birmingham said the community should not expect to see any big changes in its operation.
“For now, it’s just business as usual,” she said. “We’re praying for that.”
The only change she hopes to see, though, is in the number of people interested in helping make a family’s season a bit brighter.
“This program draws us all together,” Birmingham said. “We’re all here to support one another. That’s how I see it.”
Those interested in adopting an area family or applying to become an adopted family can contact the Spring Hill Multi-Service Center at (913)592-2304 or the Spring Hill United Methodist Church at (913)592-3660.