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story.lead_photo.caption Helen Wilbers/FULTON SUN Adopt-a-Family recipients pick through Santa’s Room in 2019.

SERVE Inc. in Fulton invites families with children to apply for Christmas assistance.

Through the Adopt-A-Family program, parents or guardians of children younger than 18 can fill out an online application to ensure when the winter holidays come around each child will have at least four gifts to open.

Applications opened Sept. 15 and will run until Oct. 31. The program prioritizes children from low-income households.

The program is an example of members of the community supporting each other.

Last year, SERVE helped 251 families — including 488 children — receive Christmas gifts.

Interested adopters will be able to sign up beginning Thursday.

"Our adopters are very enthusiastic and very excited," SERVE outreach representative Shelby Weathers said.

Though the adopter application hasn't yet opened, Weathers said interested people have already begun reaching out.

"It's very exciting to see the excitement in the community," she said.

SERVE will pass on the child's wish list, which includes favorite colors and hobbies, as well as their size, age and grade. Adopters do not know any identifying information about the family or child.

The four gifts children receive include something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read.

SERVE hopes to have all children "adopted" by Dec. 1. Gifts will be collected Dec. 8-10 and distributed Dec. 17 by a drive-thru pick-up system.

If more children than adopters sign up, SERVE will provide gifts for the remaining children.

Adopted households will also receive groceries necessary to prepare a holiday meal.

Disabled adults older than 18 and seniors older than 60 can apply to receive food and a Christmas gift bag including stocking stuffers such as socks, gift cards, books, hygiene products or other similar items.

"If families need help this Christmas and holiday season, we encourage them to apply," Weathers said.

The application for children and disabled adults and seniors can be found at form.jotform.com/202463701343143.

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