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Individuals or groups looking to spread a little holiday cheer may choose to adopt a family in need by donating gifts, household items or money for those receiving Children’s Home & Aid services.

This year, Children’s Home & Aid is assisting 170 families, which is 30 more families than the previous year, said program coordinator Laura Cordero, program coordinator.

Donors are matched with participating families but, this year, groups and individuals may choose to purchase store gift cards for the families in need rather than shopping for various items in stores. Wal-Mart, Meijer and Target gift cards are preferable, Cordero said.

Participating donors will receive a profile of the family that contains a brief synopsis of the family’s situation, and each individual in the family will have a personal page that outlines their needs, a wish list and clothing sizes.

“All of our families are in a little more dire straits this year than we have been in the past,” Cordero said. “A lot more homelessness, a lot more joblessness, so any support we can give them is extremely helpful and much needed.”

The deadline to adopt a family is Dec. 4. Email [email protected] for more information. Monetary donations are welcome.

Bloomington-Normal residents may notice a Connect Transit bus making stops at local retail stores for the annual Stuff the Bus campaign.

Each year the program seeks to fill the bus with baby items to benefit children who use the Children’s Home & Aid Crisis Nursery. The bus will rotate between Wal-Mart in Bloomington and Normal and Kroger on College Avenue between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. Nov. 30 through Dec. 5.

This year, the event, because of COVID-19 guidelines to limit group gatherings, may look a little different with a significant decrease in volunteers, said event coordinator Jeannie Higdon with Children’s Home & Aid. Typically, the event relies on more than 500 volunteers each year, but this year the event will only have a small core group of staff or committee members accepting donations.

“I’m optimistic that the event will be as successful as it has in the past,”  Higdon said. “Our community has just been so wonderful supporting us historically, and I really anticipate us being just as successful.”

Needed items are Enfamil Gentlease Infant formula, diapers of all sizes, wipes and anything a child from birth up to age 6 would need, Higdon said.

Additionally, people may limit contact by using a new texting hotline in partnership with Great Plains Media. Text “STUFF” to 77000, which will take donors to the Stuff the Bus donation page, where people can make a monetary donation.

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