Geauga County – “Sponsor a Family” is the holiday program that provides food and gifts to low income families and seniors in Geauga County. For more than 40 years, Geauga County Job and Family Services has coordinated the Sponsor a Family Program during the holiday season. Sponsor a Family provided 2 dozen families with Christmas baskets the first year; in 2011, 580 families, from every geographic location in the county, received help through the Sponsor-a-Family program. This included over 1,240 children who received toys, gifts. In addition, between 15,000 – 20,000 pounds of food was donated, sorted, packed, and delivered.

Sponsor a Family matches low income families who need assistance during the holidays with area churches, organizations, companies, families, and individuals who would like to help. Families, foster children, and seniors are referred to the program. The goal is to match as many families as possible with Sponsors from the community. Those not matched with a designated sponsor will receive food, toys and gifts from the donations Job and Family Services receives.

Sponsor a Family is a unique program and would not be possible without the generosity of community members. Area schools, businesses, organizations, and churches collect food and toys to donate while individuals and families have made participating in Sponsor a Family part of their holiday tradition. Monetary donations are used to purchase meat, staples, and other basic items.

Sponsor a Family volunteers are an essential part of the program. Last year, approximately 300 volunteers donated over 900 hours to the program. This included sorting and packing food and gift donations as well as delivering the gifts to the families.

Toy collection drives will begin the week of November 12th at the following collection points: The Middlefield Banking Company in Middlefield (main branch), Huntington Banks – Middlefield, Chardon and Burton locations, Geauga Savings Bank in Newbury.

To make donations, volunteer time, or for any additional information on the Sponsor a Family program contact program coordinator Sara Shininger at 440-285-9141. Monetary donations are accepted to purchase food and other items not provided by donations. Checks must be made payable to “Special Services”. Please indicate “Sponsor a Family” in the memo portion of the check. Checks may be mailed to P.O. Box 309, Chardon, Ohio 44024. New toys, coats and other donations are accepted at Geauga County Job and Family Services, 12480 Ravenwood Drive, Chardon.