ALBANY -- Liberty House of Albany is once again looking for help with its annual Adopt-a-Family program.
Launched by Liberty House in 2004, the program provides Christmas gifts for families served by the domestic violence shelter.
According to Liberty House Executive Director Silke Deeley, the facility has sheltered 58 women and 63 children since January. In addition, the organization has worked with up to 400 families in 17 counties this year.
Through Adopt-a-Family, Liberty House provides families lodged at the shelter with Christmas gifts.
In addition, Liberty House clients who are not housed at the shelter receive gifts, as well as food for a Christmas dinner and Christmas decorations, when possible.
"So many of these families don't even have a Christmas tree," Deeley said in a recent telephone interview. "They're living in an environment where it's constant violence, and a lot of times they can barely afford to pay their rent."
Deeley pointed out that former child clients who are now grown still feel the impact of celebrating Christmas with Liberty House.
"For some, the only memories they have of Christmas are here," she said.
Deeley explained that there is a bright side to that scenario.
"It normalizes everything for them," she said.
Another way Liberty House works to "normalize" Christmas for clients is that women staying at the shelter are invited to wrap the gifts their children will receive.
"It's to make it feel less like charity," Deeley said.
Because some clients live in tight economic situations, the concept is a new one.
"Some of these mothers have never wrapped a present before," Deeley said.
Participants wishing to help the Adopt-a-Family program will be assigned a family served by Liberty House and will be given the age and gender of each child in the family so they can buy at least three gifts per child.
In addition to purchasing gifts, Southwest Georgians can provide food, Christmas decorations or monetary donations to the program.
The cutoff date to adopt a family is Dec. 11. The deadline to purchase gifts is Dec. 18.
"The sooner you call us, the sooner you can shop," Deeley said.
For more information, call Nina Singleton at (229)