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News | Jan. 9, 2017

Gratitude abounds for DLA Adopt-a-Family Program

By DLA Public Affairs

Caregivers of children who participated in the 2016 Defense Logistics Agency Adopt-a-Family Program have profound gratitude for the gifts donated by employees in Fort Belvoir, Virginia.

A total of 87 children from 28 families of DLA employees and contractors who work in the McNamara Headquarters Center received approximately 400-500 gifts, according to Army Chaplain (Col.) Carleton Birch, whose office administers the program.

Anonymity for both the givers and the receivers makes the program successful, Birch noted. "Everyone goes through turbulent times,” he said. “Running the Adopt-a-Family program through the Chaplain's Office gives people anonymity to reach out for help and gives employees the opportunity to help a DLA family in need. This is an example of putting resiliency into action."

Parents, guardians and others have anonymously expressed their appreciation to members of his staff. A selection of their statements is below.

 “I just wanted to take a moment to thank each and every single person who had a hand in helping my son have a blessed Christmas. Knowing that right now I am going through some financial issues, and I don't have a support group to fall back on, nor family to help aid, it was nice to know that the DLA family helped MY child smile. ... I am so grateful to know that the DLA family wanted to help my six-year-old have a Christmas. My heart hurt so bad when I knew I couldn't do much.

Trying to decide what bills I can afford to pay, what I can be late on, and what I can cut out has been main stressor lately. My son truly loved his gifts. Thank you again!!!"

"This is the fourth year that I have participated, and seeing the program from both sides affords me a unique perspective. It makes me feel good to help others and I can see the benefits of others helping people that I know and care about. I pray the program continues in the same vein and spirit it has been."

"This program has been a blessing to me and my family for someone to take the time, the love, and kindness to help someone else. I really appreciate the helping seeing the children faces as they open up their gifts and to help out in getting the things that they desire (which has been very little). I pray that I will be able to also give back before someone was there for me and mine. I would like to thank everyone that took part in making this program a success for so many families."

"This year was my first time using the program. I have in the past donated to Toys for Tots, the coat drive and the homeless shelters in the area. I think this is a great program for those who are less fortunate to provide for themselves during the holiday season. It helped me put a small smile on my niece's face, and for that I am very thankful to those that made it possible. You just never know when you might have to reach out for assistance from a wonderful program DLA has in place.”

"This program has an impact on my children because they get a couple of toys, [as well as] clothes and shoes that I could not afford to get them. To see their faces on Christmas Day is so precious and memorable. I cannot thank the program enough for making my three children's lives happy on such a special day."

"Thanks to all the donors for this program. It is very appreciated because all the kids are happy and grateful for someone showing love and kindness to them. For a single mom working two jobs, medical bills just keep the family income down. For these children's lives [the program] is keeping hope alive."

"This year's Adopt-a-Family 2016 has brightened the holidays for the children in need that I submitted names for. Unfortunately, their parents are going through some difficult times and were unable to provide them any Christmas gifts this year. If it had not been for the DLA Adopt-a-Family program, these kids would have not received any Christmas gifts. The kids were truly blessed, and every gift the kids asked for, they received."

The Chaplain's Office is looking for ways to provide additional outreach opportunities during the year. If you are interested in being involved, contact the Chaplain’s Office at 703-767-0242 or email