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237 families will receive Christmas presents this holiday season due to Adopt-a-family fundraiser

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO)-The search is underway for people willing to adopt a family this holiday season to help put presents for children under the Christmas tree. Pikes Peak United Way is leading the effort to ensure more than 200 families in the Harrison School District get the help they need to make sure the holiday season is a happy one.

"Just the fact that our children are able to receive something that financially we cannot give them is a big help and it was a very beautiful surprise when we were offered it," said Nereida Díaz, mother of Harrison School District Two students.

Díaz said she and her family were fortunate enough to get help through the United Way program last year. Mentioning that there are many like her who work hard during the whole year and are barely able to make ends meet. Additionally, most of her income goes to food and housing, leaving little for gifts during December.

"As a parent when you see your children's faces when they get something that they're not expecting or that when they're a little bit old enough to know that you know right now is not the time for them to receive it, but then somehow these beautiful people in the community made that dream come true for your children that's really what it's all about," said Díaz.

Harrison School District Two has been partnering with Pikes Peak United Way since 2021, and every year leaders from the school have called it a blessing.

"Our families are not asking for crazy things. They're asking for things that many of us take for granted. They're asking for food. They're asking for winter clothing. They're asking for books. They're asking for a game to play with the family over the holidays," said Wendy Brihanzel, Superintendent for Harrison School District Two.

Harrison School District Two serves 13,000 students, and out of those Brihanzel said 80 percent of those students rely on resources like free and reduced lunch. 

"When you look at percentages, those families are in higher need than other districts not that there aren't pockets of need in other districts, this just happens to be where we are also opening up our family success center," said Heather Steinman with Pikes Peak United Way.

The deadline to adopt a family is before Thanksgiving. If you would like more information on how to do so, you can visit Pikes Peak United Way's website.

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Andrea Herrera

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