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Community Programs

Adopt-A-Family / Adopt-A-Senior Program

Berman Institute of Bioethics staff with gifts

Berman Institute of Bioethics staff
Photo courtesy of Homewood Photography

Program Description

The holiday season can be a difficult time for children with absentee parents, individuals who have been displaced from their homes as a result of domestic violence or unemployment, low-income and homebound seniors, military families, and others in the community who are facing hardships. The Adopt-a-Family/ Adopt-a-Senior Program helps make the holiday season brighter for those in need and provides families and individuals with gifts, clothing, and grocery gift certificates that they may not otherwise receive or be able to afford.

This holiday season we are partnering with Family and Children Services of Central Maryland, Infinity Stern, and Project PLASE. The Johns Hopkins Adopt-a-Family / Adopt-a-Senior program is sponsored by the Office of Work, Life and Engagement and is a charitable activity for faculty, staff, students, and retirees of all Hopkins entities and locations.  

Enjoy this short video to see the smiles, gifts, and healthy holiday meals from 2012.

How to Participate

Registration for the 2013 Adopt-a-Family/Adopt-a-Senior program is now closed. Thank you to everyone who participated!

Details on the specific needs of families and seniors are available to individuals and departments that sign up to participate. After submitting the completed registration form, please allow at least 72 hours to receive your adopted family or senior gift wish lists.  

The Johns Hopkins Adopt-a-Family/ Adopt-a-Senior program is designed to assist families and individuals who have been referred to us. If you are in need of assistance, please contact your local social services agency.

If you are not affiliated with Johns Hopkins and would still like to receive information on how you can help families and/or seniors in your area, please contact a local social services agency.

For more information, contact Brandi Monroe-Payton or call 443-997- 7000.


Who receives help through the Johns Hopkins Adopt-a-Family/Adopt-a-Senior Program?

Which Hopkins affiliates participate in the program?

Why do Hopkins employees say they participate?

How are the donors matched with the families, seniors, and adults with disabilities?

Can I meet the adopted family or senior?

Can I still participate if I cannot deliver the gifts?

Should the gifts be new?

Who receives help through the Johns Hopkins Adopt-a-Family/Adopt-a-Senior Program?

The Office of Work, Life and Engagement partners with local agencies that serve families and seniors who are facing a bleak holiday due to a variety of circumstances.  Previously adopted families and individuals have included teen mothers of young children, children of incarcerated parents, women and children displaced due to domestic violence, seniors, and adults with disabilities who are unable to pay bills and afford personal items.

Which Hopkins affiliates participate in the program?

All Hopkins affiliates are invited to adopt a family or senior for the holidays.  Many employees participate as a department-wide activity, and other Hopkins donors use this as an opportunity to model for their loved ones the joys of giving to those less fortunate.

Top of FAQs

Why do Hopkins employees say they participate?

“Most of us have our material needs and wants met easily.  We don’t give a second thought on what it would be like to have to struggle to find resources to pay rent, buy food and clothing, and care for our families.  Giving gifts to an adopted family who faces these dire struggles is the very least that we can do to offer a helping hand and bring joy to our neighbors who don’t have as easy a life as most of us.  It’s a very small way to express our gratitude for what most of us take for granted.” Mike Bernard, JHU Mechanical Engineering

How are the donors matched with the families and seniors?

You may request to adopt a family, a senior, or an adult with a disability.  During the online registration process, you have the opportunity to request a specific family size, gender of adopted individual(s), etc.   Although we cannot guarantee an exact match, the Office of Work, Life and Engagement makes an effort to accommodate donor requests.

Top of FAQs

Can I meet the adopted family or senior?

Due to the rules of confidentiality, a limited number of families and seniors receive their gifts directly from donors.  Most adopted families, seniors, and adults with disabilities receive their gifts from the partnering agencies.  You can choose to deliver directly to the agency or if you are located at one of the Hopkins campuses in the Baltimore area, you can request that the gifts be picked up and delivered to the agency by Office of Work, Life and Engagement staff. 

Can I still participate if I cannot personally deliver the gifts?

Yes! Participants located at a Hopkins campus in the Baltimore area are able to request that the gifts be picked up from your Hopkins office on December 18 and 19.

Please note: due to the large number of pick-up requests, you must arrange a delivery time with the sponsoring agency IF you do not schedule pick-up on 12/18 or 12/19. Delivery to the sponsoring agency must occur on or before December 16.

Should the gifts be new? 

Yes. Any items given to the adopted families and individuals must be new. They should also be gift-wrapped and labeled based on the directions emailed to you.

Top of FAQs

2012 Impact Report

Your generosity resulted in record-breaking success—146 families, seniors, and adults with disabilities (a total of more than 400 individuals) received gifts, toys, grocery store gift cards, and much more for the holiday season. More than 100 Hopkins affiliates, departments, and student groups gave selflessly.  Your efforts are greatly appreciated!

Words of Thanks from the 2012 Adopted Families, Seniors, and Sponsored Agencies

“ Ms. Jones* was moving over the holidays to her daughter’s home – her daughter’s job had just been terminated so gifts were very limited…Ms. Jones is bed-bound so is also in need of bedding supplies…Thanks to you, Ms. Jones had a much more joyful holiday than she would have otherwise.  Many thanks for your generosity!” – Eldercare Case Manager   (*name changed to maintain confidentiality)

“This is amazing; I don’t think “thank you” is enough. I want to hug my donors…please tell them they have changed my life forever”. – An adopted family

“I never knew that people cared like this. I am so thankful for everything”. – An adopted family

“What a pleasant and wonderful surprise to receive your gifts of chocolate and beautiful gloves, which fit my hands perfectly.  I can’t imagine knowing you, but one thing I know, you are VERY kind and thoughtful!  You made my Christmas!!” – An adopted senior

 “Just a little thank you card for all of the hearts you’ve touched this Christmas in my home.  You’ve truly been a blessing to me and my family. And for that I thank you from the bottom of my heart!” – An adopted family

child's artwork for thank you note