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Here’s how you can help: SOS seeks holiday donations for its 47th Adopt A Family program

Share Our Selves supporter John Acuna puts together a children’s bicycle for SOS’ Adopt A Family program in 2015.
(Courtesy Share Our Selves)

This holiday season marks the 47th year of Costa Mesa-based Share Our Selves’ annual Adopt A Family program, which aims to provide struggling Orange County families with gifts and food for the holidays.

This year, the program intends to provide donations to more than 1,200 families recommended by Costa Mesa and Santa Ana organizations and schools.

“Many of the families work multiple jobs to provide for their children, but unforeseen circumstances — reduced hours, sudden illness, a death in the family — make it nearly impossible to celebrate the holidays,” according to a statement from Share Our Selves. “Oftentimes their Christmas wishes are as simple as clothing, diapers, blankets and extra food. ... A little help goes a long way in bringing smiles and joy to those who would otherwise go without this season.”

SOS asks that donors provide each child in each family with at least two new gifts, along with food or grocery gift cards for a complete dinner for the family.


Following are 10 of the eligible families and their wish lists. The information is provided by SOS.

To “adopt” a family or for more information about finding a family to adopt, call (949) 270-2187 or email

Donors can drop off food and gifts Dec. 19-22 at the OC Fair & Event Center in Costa Mesa. SOS staff and volunteers will pack and wrap the items and distribute them to the families Dec. 22, according to Kate Servino, marketing and development manager for Share Our Selves.

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The father in this family works construction, but his work is not steady. The mother is unable to work since she takes care of their youngest son, who is autistic. The family has difficulty making their monthly rent at times. There are three children in the family, ages 7 to 17.

The family members and the items they would like are:

Boy, age 7: Pants, shirts (likes Mario Brothers or Mickey Mouse characters), headphones (over the ear), gift card for shoes

Girl, age 13: Jeans, long-sleeve shirts, sweatshirts, jewelry, makeup, nail polish, gift card for shoes

Girl, age 17: Long-sleeve shirts, sweatshirts, Target gift card for jewelry and makeup, gift card for shoes, Victoria’s Secret lotion/body splash

Mother: Gift card for shoes, grocery store gift cards, blender, toaster, Walmart gift card for toiletries for the family

Father: Work boots (Sears gift card), shirts, zip-up hoodie sweatshirt, couch


Donated holiday gifts for children and others can be dropped off at the OC Fair & Event Center in Costa Mesa from Dec. 19 to 22 for Share Our Selves’ annual Adopt A Family effort for struggling Orange County families.
(Courtesy Share Our Selves)


The father of this family is in the military and has been deployed in Korea for two years. The parents are divorced, and the mother now lives with her parents. The entire family lives in a one-bedroom apartment.

The family members and the items they would like:

Girl, age 7: iPad or iPod (hers broke and she would use a new one to communicate with her father through Facetime), Target gift card for shoes, items to draw with

Boy, age 8: Soccer gear, skateboards

Girl, age 10: Items for arts and crafts and bracelet crafting

Girl, age 15: Music, items to draw with


Mother: Food4Less and Walmart gift cards

Grandmother: Food4Less and Walmart gift cards

Grandfather: Food4Less and Target gift cards


The mother in this family is a single parent who is the sole support for her three children and her elderly mother. Her recent diagnosis of diabetes and possible thyroid cancer have sapped her energy and caused her to cut her work hours. The family lives with two others in a three- bedroom home.

The family members and the items they would like:

Boy, age 9: Gift card for shoes, sweater, jeans, shirts, underwear, skateboard, remote-control car

Boy, age 14: Gift card for shoes, sweater, skateboard, underwear, jacket, remote-control car, socks

Woman, age 18: Pants, shirts, socks sweaters, gift card for shoes

Mother: Socks, sweater, gift card for shoes

Grandmother: Sweaters, pants, blouse, socks, gift card for shoes

Supporters of Share Our Selves’ annual Adopt A Family program help wrap donated holiday gifts for needy families last year. SOS is seeking donations for this year’s effort.
(Courtesy Share Our Selves)


This family consists of a single mother with a 5-year-old child. She was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and is undergoing chemotherapy. She can only work part time, which limits her income.

The family members and the items they would like:

Boy, age 5: Disney toys (his favorite movie is “Cars”), clothes

Mother: Large soft blanket, gift cards for food


This family has been homeless for two years. The mother has been working and going to school, and they will be moving into an apartment soon. The two children, ages 3 and 6, have never been able to have many toys or other belongings because they had no place to store them.

Boy, age 3: Scooter, cars, Paw Patrol toys, Little Einstein blocks, gift card for shoes. His favorite colors are blue and green.

Girl, age 6: Clothes, Shopkins, items for arts and crafts, night light, bike helmet, hair bows, gift card for shoes. Her favorite color is pink.

Mother: Makeup, hair products, toiletries, grocery store gift card


This family of five is struggling emotionally and financially. The children’s mother recently died, and the family rents a single room in a two-bedroom apartment. They collect recyclables to make extra money, and the eldest son is looking for work to help support the family.

The family members and the items they would like:

Boy, age 6: Superhero backpack, warm sweaters, winter clothing, items to draw with

Boy, age 10: Backpack, school supplies, warm sweaters and other clothing, arts and crafts items

Boy, age 14: Backpack, school supplies, athletic items (he loves soccer)

Man, age 18: Bicycle and helmet to get to school and work, backpack, school supplies, athletic items (his favorite sport is soccer)

Father: Gift cards for food, household supplies and toiletries


This grandmother is struggling financially to provide for her three grandchildren, for whom she has cared since they were infants. All the children were exposed to abuse and continue to suffer physical and emotional complications from it. The grandmother has been on disability since 2012 because of a work-related injury, so it has been difficult to make ends meet.

The family members and the items they would like:

Girl, age 3: Dolls, Barbies with accessories, sweaters, pants, tops

Boy, age 4: Toy tractors and firetrucks, clothing

Boy, age 12: Tracks for Hot Wheels, pants, T-shirts

Grandmother: Gift card for sweaters, blouses and pants, grocery gift card from Food4Less or Stater Bros.

Some children eligible for donations in this year’s Adopt A Family program presented by Costa Mesa-based Share Our Selves are asking for new bikes like these given last year.
(Courtesy Share Our Selves)


This mother lives with her children in a small apartment in a low-income community where gang activity is prevalent. Her marriage was plagued by domestic violence, so she receives no support from her ex-husband. She became disabled because of a car accident and has continuing back problems. Her youngest child has ADHD, autism and speech problems.

The family members and the items they would like:

Boy, age 6: Indominus Rex Breakout Legos, school uniform clothing (navy blue pants and white shirts). His favorite color is green.

Girl, age 9: Six-pack set of Monster High dolls, school uniform clothing (navy blue pants and white shirts), books. Her favorite color is blue.

Mother: Frying pan set, coffee maker, Payless gift card for shoes


This mother is a hard-working single parent of a child who is autistic and has special needs. She is a UC Irvine student and works 30 hours a week beyond getting her daughter to and from school and therapy. Her low income makes it difficult to provide for their basic needs

The family members and the items they would like:

Girl, age 4: Items to color and draw with, books about spiders and bugs. “The Nightmare Before Christmas” is her favorite movie.

Mother: Movie tickets, Amazon gift card to help her buy school textbooks


This single mother is serving in the Army. Her children, ages 7 and 9, live with her mother in Costa Mesa, and she travels back and forth from her Army base in Barstow. She is supporting her children and her mother on one salary.

The family members and the items they would like:

Girl, age 7: Princess dolls, dress-up clothing, unicorns. Her favorite color is purple.

Girl, age 9: Board games, bicycle and helmet, Sears gift cards for running shoes and sports clothing

Mother: Gift card for gasoline, Walmart gift card for food and household supplies

Grandmother: Gift card for sports clothing, running shoes or activewear