By MONICA JOSEPH
THE GOSHEN NEWS
The adults in Shari and Ralph Kammerdiener’s extended family used to draw each others’ names to exchange Christmas gifts.
In 2008, when the economy tanked, the Kammerdieners decided there was a better way to spend that money.
“We were well off compared to the economy at that time,” said Shari, a Millersburg resident. “A lot of people were out of work.”
Shari was familiar with the Salvation Army’s Adopt-a-Family program, where community members provide food for the families and presents for children 14 and younger.
“When I started working at Everence, that’s what we did for our department’s Christmas project,” Shari said. Her department still does that each year.
The extended Kammerdiener family agreed that the adoption program was a good way to give back locally.
The five adults and their spouses and parents are usually able to help two or three families each year. This year, Shari said, the Kammerdieners are adopting one large and one medium-size family.
And they plan on having fun while they do it.
It is usually the women and children who get together and split up the shopping duties.
“It’s always a good time,” Shari said.
They split into teams and take an envelope with gift ideas and the allotted cash and start shopping.
“The little kids have fun with it too,” Shari said. “They get to participate and know what it means to give to other people and not just have things given to them.”
The kids also help out by knowing what is “in” and what their peers would like.
“That helps us out, because some of us haven’t had little kids in a long time,” Shari said.
Giving to others is a satisfying way to kick off the holidays, she said.
“We are fortunate and not in dire need like some people in the community,” she said. “It seems like a better way to use the (gift) money and give back.”
For more information on adopting a family, call 533-9584. The website is www.usc.salvationarmy.org/goshen