Current Suspected Overdose Deaths in Delaware for 2023: Get Help Now!

Find school water testing results and additional resources

Attention Medicaid Participants: Eligibility Renewals Restarted April 1, 2023 logo

DHSS Press Release

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

Date: November 6, 2014


NEW CASTLE (Nov. 6, 2014) - By participating in the Holiday Adopt-A-Family program, Delawareans can help bring the holiday spirit to thousands of Delaware children, adults and seniors in need. This year, participants will be able to read about eligible individuals and families and to donate through the online platform, CommuniGift.

The Human Services Council, Inc., in partnership with the Department of Health and Social Services, is seeking individuals, businesses and organizations to help provide holiday gifts for thousands of the state's children and seniors living in poverty or in low-income households.

Each holiday season, donors are anonymously matched to a senior or a 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.

Those interested in adopting a senior or a person with a disability will be matched to an individual in need living in a nursing home. A wish list of things the individual likes and would appreciate, as well as clothing preferences and sizes, will be provided to you. After shopping for these residents, items can be dropped off at the New Castle County (3301 Green St., Claymont) or Kent and Sussex County Adopt-A-Family offices (13 SW Front St., Milford).

"There is something special about the way that Adopt-A-Family works, with neighbors helping neighbors," Gov. Jack Markell said. "I encourage people from across the state to reach out through Adopt-A-Family to help provide a holiday to children, families and seniors who otherwise would go without one. Working together, we can lift up those in need while showcasing the best of our holiday spirit."

This year, Adopt-A-Family is making it easier to support a Delaware individual or family through a partnership with the online giving platform, CommuniGift. Donors are able to browse and learn about individuals and families in need, and then directly purchase products for them through one-click integration with retailers. To familiarize yourself with the process, go to "We know how generous Delawareans are," said Rita Landgraf, secretary of the Department of Health and Social Services, which oversees the Adopt-A-Family program. "This holiday season, we ask that you come together as a family, a workplace, a place of worship or a school to adopt a family or a senior in need. Through a simple gift, we can show how our actions can positively impact the lives of our fellow Delawareans."

The deadline to "adopt" a family is Dec. 15, and all gift cards and gifts must be delivered to the Adopt-A-Family Office by Dec. 19. Families who are adopted pick up their gift cards from their respective Adopt-A-Family office.

In 2013, the Holiday Adopt-A-Family program, through the leadership of the Human Services Councils of New Castle County and Kent/Sussex counties, helped 2,593 Delawareans. Most of the beneficiaries are single-parent households, children, adults with a disability, and senior citizens. They are referred to Adopt-A-Family by a social worker or case manager through state agencies and human service nonprofit organizations.

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.

In 2011, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly 16 percent of Delawareans lived below the poverty line. In October 2014, more than 150,000 Delawareans qualified for food benefits and more than 230,000 people are clients of Medicaid. Delaware's unemployment rate for September 2014 was 6.5 percent.

"As the economy continues to recover, we find the need is still great for our Holiday Adopt-A-Family program," Landgraf said. "That's why we need your support in adopting a family, an individual with a disability, or a senior in need."

To "adopt" an individual or family without using CommuniGift, please contact:

To help bolster the holiday spirit, New Castle Adopt-A-Family will hold its first Holiday Kick-Off Event for current and potential sponsors from 4-7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 20, at the Belvedere Fire Hall (1000 Liberty Road, Wilmington). Please RSVP by Nov. 10 to or (302) 792-9538.

For these programs, Adopt-A-Family accepts financial and in-kind donations. Checks should be made payable to: Adopt-A-Family, and for New Castle County, mailed to 3301 Green St., Claymont, DE 19703; or for Kent and Sussex Counties, mailed to Adopt-A-Family, 13 SW Front St., Milford, DE 19963.

For more information about Adopt-A-Family, go to or contact your nearest state service center.

For reporters who need more information about Adopt-A-Family, including interviews, contact India Colon, Marketing and Media Coordinator, at the State Office of Volunteerism, at (302) 857-5014.

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.