by Susan Eustice
Thanks to The Salvation Army’s Adopt-a-Family Radiothon in Omaha, Neb., each year on Christmas morning families across the metro area awaken to the joyous anticipation of discovering gifts under the tree. Since the program’s inception 19 years ago, more than 35,400 Omaha families have received in-kind donations and gifts totaling more than $5 million.
The 48-hour radiothon recruits adult contemporary radio station Star 104.5 listeners to adopt Omaha families who have registered for holiday assistance. Listeners who adopt a family commit to providing gifts valued up to $30 for each child age 15 and under, as well as a grocery gift certificate for a complete family holiday meal. The sponsor then personally delivers the grocery gift certificate and gifts to the family at their residence.
“The radiothon is the vital link connecting those in need with those wanting to help,” said Dr. Linda Burkle, Western divisional director of social services. “It is by far the most efficient and personally rewarding means to bring Christmas joy and hope to families struggling to make ends meet.”
Last year 1,860 families were adopted by generous listeners, with donations valued at more than $370,000.
This year the radiothon is being held at the Westroads Mall in Omaha where more than 200 volunteers will staff a 10-person phone bank from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. over the two-day event. Depending on their budget, each donor will be matched with a family of the appropriate size.