Windsor·Sounds of the Season

Want to be like Santa? Here's how you can adopt a family in need for Christmas

Windsor Family Homes and Community Partnerships is eagerly looking to secure as many sponsors as possible for its adopt-a-family program to support families and individuals in need for the holidays — but this year is proving to be more difficult to do so. 

Windsor Family Homes and Community Partnerships says it's been more difficult to secure sponsors this year

How to adopt a family for the holidays

6 months ago
Duration 2:23
Windsor Family Homes and Community Partnerships is eagerly looking to secure more sponsors for this year's Adopt-A-Family program to give families and individuals in need a proper holiday that they might not be able to have otherwise.

Between inflation, Windsor's high unemployment rate and record-setting food bank usage, this year's holiday season is shaping up to be a difficult one for many families in our region.

That's why Windsor Family Homes and Community Partnerships (WFHCP) is eagerly looking to secure as many sponsors as possible for its adopt-a-family program to support families and individuals in need for the holidays — but this year it is proving to be more challenging than previous years. 

"I think everyone's seeing the effects of the inflation and prices and there's been a little bit of a lacking in participation this year," explained Danielle Atogwe, the co-ordinator of programs at WFHCP. 

Last year, they supported a record 75 families and they're hoping to match it this year. So far, they've secured approximately 50 sponsors this year, with many families and individuals still hoping to be matched.

Sponsors are paired with a family or an individual in need, depending on what they request, they receive a wish list, shop and then deliver those items to the agency. The family or individual is then called in to pick up the items in time for the holidays.

The meaning of Christmas

"This is Christmas to me. This is everything," said Courtney Rivait, a long-time sponsor and self-proclaimed elf. 

"You're helping people get something that they wouldn't ordinarily have and helping them have a genuine Christmas, which is something that I got to experience as a child. So I think it's really important that other people grown and young get to experience that."

Christina Del Medico, left, and Courtney Rivait, right, are long-time sponsors with the Adopt-A-Family program. (Katerina Georgieva/CBC)

Sponsor — and self-proclaimed Mrs. Claus — Christina Delmedico has been taking part in the program since 2017, and this year, her family is sponsoring 39 individuals. 

When she sponsored for the very first time, it "changed the meaning of Christmas forever," she said.

"The kids are asking for basic necessities. It absolutely breaks my heart. This year on almost every single wish list, we have bed sheets, we have boots, we have socks, underwear, things that, you know, you and I maybe wouldn't even think twice about."

This is a look at Christina Delmedico's collection of presents that went to families in need last year. (Submitted by Christina Delmedico)

Angela Yakonich, the executive director at WFHCP, says this program is incredibly important this time of year for the organization's clients.

"We are finding that a lot of people are having to choose between paying their gas bill or rent or hydro, any of their utilities over groceries," she said.

"In addition to that, they're going to have to choose feeding their families over providing those gifts and those extras that we get every year at Christmas."

'No greater feeling'

It's not just families with kids who are in need — it's single adults who need support too. 

Danielle Atogwe, left, and Angela Yakonich, right, are working to secure more sponsors to support families in need for the holidays. (Katerina Georgieva/CBC)

"We get a ton of people coming out that want to adopt a single mom and a child, or a whole family, but our seniors and our single adults are often left behind," Yakonich explained. 

"These are people that don't have any family necessarily. They don't get to celebrate Christmas and otherwise they wouldn't have a Christmas."

Anyone interested in taking part in the program can reach out to Atogwe directly or call the agency with details posted on the WFHCP's facebook page

She explained that a person can let the agency know what type of family they'd like to adopt, or if they'd like to support an individual. 

She added that she has a family of 11 individuals who she'd love to get sponsored.

"It's the best week of my life when people come pick up the gifts because you see how grateful and thankful they are," Atogwe said.

"There's just no greater feeling when they come here and see all of what a sponsor has provided."

Sounds of the Season is CBC Windsor's annual fundraiser in support of the Windsor-Essex Food Bank Association. It's also a chance to take a closer look at the reasons people in our city are in need, and the steps being taken to help them. 

Donate to the Windsor-Essex Food Bank Association now!



Katerina Georgieva

Host of CBC Windsor News at 6

Katerina Georgieva is an RTDNA award winning multi-platform journalist for CBC News based in Windsor, Ont., with a passion for human interest stories. She has also worked for CBC in Toronto, Charlottetown, and Winnipeg. Have a news tip? You can reach her at