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DHSS Press Release

Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Cell 302-357-7498

Date: August 13, 2013


NEW CASTLE (Aug. 13, 2013) - As Delaware families get ready to send their children back to school, the Department of Health and Social Services asks you to remember students who aren't as fortunate by making a donation through the state's Adopt-A-Student program.

While staff members for the Adopt-A-Student programs for New Castle County and for Kent and Sussex counties say they have plenty of backpacks and school supplies, they still need gift cards so families can do back-to-school shopping on their own. The Adopt-A-Student program asks for gift cards to help families buy school uniforms in denominations of $15, $25, $30, $50 or $100.

Last year, more than 300 children in New Castle County and more than 230 children in Kent and Sussex counties were served through the Adopt-A-Student programs, coordinated through DHSS' Division of State Service Centers. Still, there weren't enough donations to help more than 100 children in Kent and Sussex counties.

"Adopt-A-Student is a great way for the community to play a role in helping more Delaware students to succeed," said DHSS Secretary Rita Landgraf. "By making a generous donation of a gift card or by check, you are connecting with families and offering them the opportunity to bring the excitement of back-to-school shopping to their families, too."

Here's how you can help:

1.) Gift cards can be dropped off or mailed to: New Castle Adopt-A-Family: 3301 Green St., Claymont, DE 19703 Kent/ Sussex Adopt-A-Family, Milford State Service Center Annex, 13 SW Front St., Suite 103, Milford, DE 19963

2.) Tax-deductible cash donations from individuals and businesses can be made to: Human Services Council, Inc., 3301 Green St., Claymont, DE 19703, or 13SW Front St., Suite 103, Milford, DE 19963. United Way donations can be designated by writing in the following codes: New Castle: #9102, Kent/Sussex: #12774

"Each year we receive such an overwhelming response from the community," said Lisa Johnson, volunteer services administrator for Adopt-A-Family in New Castle County. "This year, Astra Zeneca donated over 50 back packs filled with supplies. Without their help, there would be 50 fewer kids ready for school. "

"The children who are assisted by your donations to the Kent/Sussex Adopt-A-Student program are the children in your neighborhood, attending your schools," said Shannon Smith, program coordinator. "When the children do well, the schools do well. Thanks to your kind-hearted donations, we increase the opportunities for more students to succeed in Kent and Sussex counties."

Year-round, the Adopt-A-Family program aids families in crisis - those struggling with illness, homelessness, domestic violence, poverty or unemployment. The program, begun in 1973, is coordinated by the Division of State Service Centers in all three counties. During a typical year, the Adopt-A-Family program, with assistance from the Human Services Councils of New Castle County and Kent/Sussex counties, has provided urgently needed assistance to more than 4,500 Delaware families in need, totaling more than 15,000 individuals. Most of the beneficiaries are single-parent households, children and senior citizens.

The Division of State Service Centers is already gearing up for the Adopt-A-Family Holiday program. Each holiday season, donors are anonymously matched to a senior or family of one or more children through the Holiday Adopt-A-Family program.

Adopt-A-Family provides the donor with the age and gender of each child in the family and a brief description of the circumstances that led to their need for assistance. The donor then provides gift cards or certificates for the head-of-household to use in buying holiday gifts. The recommended gift is $100 to $125 per child, with a gift certificate for the parent optional, but thoughtful.

For more information about either the Adopt-A-Student or the Holiday Program, please contact:
New Castle County Adopt-A-Family at 302-792-9538
Kent/Sussex County Adopt-A-Family at 302-424-7260

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.