With Christmas quickly approaching, the Chiefs Women's Organization and Operation Breakthrough are striving to fulfil Kansas City children's wish lists. For five years, the CWO has participated in the Adopt-A-Family program with Operation Breakthrough, a non-profit organization serving children and their families in the Kansas City metro.
This year, 54 families were adopted and gifts were purchased for 170 children. Over the last five years of this partnership, 293 families have been adopted and 783 children have received gifts for the holidays.
"The CWO has adopted some of our families because a lot of our families can't afford Christmas," Sister Berta, one of the Operation Breakthrough founders, explained. "We probably have 30 percent of our families that don't have utilities at home and we have a lot of kids without food. So many of our families live below the poverty level. We have about 100 homeless kids. We serve some of the poorest kids in Kansas City."
For more than 30 years, Operation Breakthrough has managed the Christmas adoption program to provide for these families in need. Families can apply for the adoption process in October and, if adopted, receive their gifts a few weeks before Christmas.
"The moms or dads can apply in October. They write down the sizes, ages and about five toys that the kids want for Christmas," Sister Berta noted. "Then the CWO can adopt a family and purchase the gifts for the kids. We collect them from Arrowhead and then the mothers can pick them up from Operation Breakthrough so they can wrap the presents and set them out for Christmas morning."
The donations made by the CWO were picked up by Operation Breakthrough early last week at the Chiefs practice facility. Chiefs Cheerleaders, employees and KC Wolf helped lend a hand. The items were then dropped off at Operation Breakthrough's Christmas warehouse for families to pick up their gifts. With the abundance of gifts donated by the CWO, a very merry Christmas morning is guaranteed for many Kansas City families.
However, there are more families to be adopted than there are donors, so Operation Breakthrough tries to provide a solution.
"We have a program for the families that don't get adopted," Sister Berta noted. "We have a store where people can donate gifts and the moms can shop without money. So if you weren't adopted through the program, you could still get three gifts for your kids from this store."
Any gifts left in the store after Christmas are used as birthday presents throughout the year.
"During kids' birthdays, parents can get a gift for their child's birthday from our store," Sister Berta explained. "We used to give the kids a birthday ribbon and when I was pinning it on a young boy one day, he said, 'Does my mom know it's my birthday?'. So when she came to pick him up, I asked her about it and she said, 'Sister, I didn't have any money. I was going to tell him Friday was his birthday so I could get him something.' So now, if there is anything left in the store, we can give the mothers a gift to give to their children."
However, the store is not always full, there is always a need and donations are accepted year round. To learn more about ways you can donate or get involved, visit OperationBreakthrough.org.