Adoption Tree program gives Christmas presents to more than 200 adults with disabilities

First year it is completely adopted out early
Adoption Tree program gives Christmas presents to more than 200 adults with disabilities

John and Debbie Brown got to open one of their Christmas presents early this year. It was gifted to them by their guardian through the Adoption Tree program.

They both received new sweatpants.

“Oh we love it” said Debbie.
“I love it” added John.

They live at the Webb City Health and Rehab retirement home. These presents brighten up the holiday season for them.

“Yeah it makes me very happy…yeah me too” the Browns said.

The Browns are 2 of more than 200 adults with disabilities that benefit from the Adoption Tree program.

“You see a lot of joy in their face because its items that they’ve requested throughout the year, and that they are wanting and personal treats that they enjoy” said Webb City Health and Rehab, Shaulene Capps.

The retirement home has worked with the program since it started.

“We try to ensure by working with the program that these residents feel the holiday joy and do not feel left out” added Capps.

It was started in 2009 by Angie Casavecchia, the Jasper County Public Administrator and Guardian for adults with disabilities.

“We quickly realized that the only way we were going to make sure everybody had something to open on Christmas morning was if we created an Adoption Tree.”

Tags are put on the tree with the person’s name and wish list. Anyone in the community can adopt as many as they want to buy gifts for.

“Everybody should have something to open on Christmas morning and if we didn’t do this and the community didn’t help by adopting these folks, there are many that wouldn’t have anything to open on Christmas morning, and I just think that would be very sad” added Casavecchia.

Luckily though, the Adoption Tree is already bare. Casavecchia says this is the first year everyone has been adopted this early.

“So exciting, normally it’s our last day at work before Christmas and were calling people who have already adopted names and begging them to take more.”

She’s hoping for the same outcome next year so that everyone, like John and Debbie, can have a joyful Christmas each year.

But, there’s still one more thing that John wants…

“More tobacco!” he laughed.

The program reaches adults with disabilities age 18 and up. They make very little to no money, many are in retirement homes like the Browns.

Casavecchia added that many of them only ask for things they need, instead of want, like hygiene products, clothing and food.

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