PORTLAND -- Hundreds of local families will get holiday visits this year from angels granting all kinds of wishes, thanks to Mike Burright, who started a program six years ago inspired by the memory of his hard-working single mother.
“My Dad died when I was young, and with an 8th grade education, she had to go to work and still every year we had Christmas,” he remembered.
Burright started the Christmas Family Adoption Foundation six years ago.
“It’s a resource for people wanting to provide the true spirit of Christmas for families who otherwise wouldn’t have one.”
Burright matches families through a website.
This week, co-workers at the Lake Oswego company Building Champions shopped at the Tigard Fred Meyer to fulfill the wishes of six families.
“Without taking a break to do this, we might just keep working, take one day off and be back at it in January, but this gives us the chance to pause and do something for someone else,” commented company President Barry Engelman.
The toys and food go to families recommended by agencies in the Portland Metro area. Once selected, parents fill out what amounts to a wish list.
“It made me feel like we were appreciated and someone did care even though we were down on our luck,” recalled mother of 3 Ruby Jones. Last year Ruby’s tree was surrounded by gifts from an adoptive family. She even got much-needed appliances.
“I just couldn’t afford a washer and dryer so when they brought those in I just started crying,” she remembered, “It was one of my best holidays as a single Mom.”
The angels spend an average of $600 to $700 fulfilling wishes.
“We get requests from people wanting to help from all over the country. Two years ago we even heard from someone in Ireland,” said Burright.
Six years ago Christmas Family Adoption helped 250 families. This year the number is up to 290.
“It would be great if the spirit could last year round but at least this time of year we have so many people wanting to give,” remarked the man who started it all.
“It’s a huge blessing, it really is,” concluded the mom who knows what a difference the program made for her family.