Adopt A Family

Adopt-A-Family Project helps brighten the holidays

UCLA Health Adopt a Family Program

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 needs.Adopt-A-Family

"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 families.

If you would like to help sponsor the Adopt-A-Family Program, please contact Rachel Dourec at

Contributions to help patient families during the 2015 holiday season will be accepted through Dec. 21.

"This project is close to my heart and represents the Auxiliary's mission - to do what we can to enhance the lives of UCLA patients."
- Rachel Dourec, chair, Adopt-A-Family Project