As Julie Roark sat entering successfully delivered Adopt-a-Family presents into her computer Monday afternoon, it was with a particularly bright smile.
For the first time she can remember, SERVE's annual Christmas support program has successfully adopted out all of the families and children that had applied for assistance this holiday season.
"In the 12 years I've been doing it, this is kind of a new thing, and it's wonderful," said Roark, director of SERVE's Callaway Action Network.
Usually, there still are a handful of children - usually older, and less popular to shop for - still needing to be adopted even after the day designated for adopters to bring their gifts in to SERVE. As Westminster College's Mueller Activity Center continued to fill with bags and donated toys Monday afternoon, however, Roark was pleased to report that has not been the case this year - despite an increased number of applicants.
"We had 688 kids this year - about 125 more than last year, and almost 1,100 people benefiting from the program," Roark said.
She said there were enough toys donated this year that seniors who applied for holiday assistance - many of whom are on fixed incomes - likely will be able to come in and select one or two gifts to give to their grandchildren.
"We're probably going to set up some sort of system tomorrow so they can have one or two gifts to give - it gives them the ability to make that connection and be involved in their grandchildren's holiday experience," Roark said. "It's certainly something we hear a lot of concerns and requests for, and this would be the first time we'll be able to do that."