Adopt-A-Family Project helps brighten the holidays
The holidays can be difficult for severely ill patients and their
families, especially when budgets are too strained to afford
festive gatherings, special meals and gift exchanges.
Each year, the UCLA Health Auxiliary coordinates its
Adopt-A-Family Project to help brighten the holidays of patients
and families facing severe illness and extraordinary financial
challenges. Families identified for the project receive practical
gift cards that they can use to best address their
"We have found that gift cards are the most significant and
meaningful way to help families," says Rachel Dourec, who chairs
the Auxiliary's Adopt-a-Family Program. "The cards allow them to
prioritize their needs as they see fit, whether they want to plan
a holiday meal, purchase gifts or buy diapers, gas or food."
Launched nearly two decades ago, the program has evolved and
grown signifcantly over the years. Once focused on Westwood
hospital patients only, the program now reaches out to patients
throughout UCLA Health. Last year, more than 250 needy families
from the Westwood and Santa Monica hospital campuses and various
outpatient clinics received help through the program.
"We get wonderful feedback from families regarding how much they
appreciate this outreach," Dourec says. "One family said the gift
cards allowed them to have the first holiday meal they could
afford since their child became ill. Another woman thanked us for
allowing her to pay some of her utility bills, which had gone
overdue because of her husband's illness."
The Auxiliary collects tax-deductible donations for the
Adopt-A-Family Program from staffers, various UCLA departments
and the community. All donated funds go directly to needy
If you would like to help sponsor the Adopt-A-Family Program,
please contact Rachel Dourec at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contributions to help patient families during the 2013
holiday season will be accepted through Dec. 18.
"This project is close to my heart and represents the
Auxiliary's mission - to do what we can to enhance the lives of
- Rachel Dourec, chair, Adopt-A-Family Project