Frequently Asked Questions

How else can I support Brighter Beginnings?

To find out more ways to support Brighter Beginnings go to

Where should I drop off the gifts?

Gifts are dropped off at our office locations. You will pick your specific drop off date, from a list of two possible dates, during the adoption process. Gifts must be dropped off at the location associated with the family; i.e. if a family from our Richmond program is adopted, the gifts must be dropped off at our Richmond office. Delivery locations, directions and drop-off dates are available on our website. When you bring your gifts, please also bring the in-kind donor receipt form (which you can download form here), filled out, to the drop-off site.

What is the Adopt-A-Family program?

All families served by the Adopt-A-Family program are clients of Brighter Beginnings through its home-based support programs, family strengthening centers and Federally Qualified Health Centers. Through the 'adoption' process, low-income families are matched with a donor who purchases gifts for the family, wraps them and drops them off at one of the Brighter Beginnings Centers in Oakland, Richmond or Antioch. This is a great way to do something that is really appreciated and needed by the families we serve.

Can we meet the family?

We strive to protect the privacy of both our families and our donors. We try to operate the Adopt-A-Family Program in a confidential manner. So, no, we don't arrange for donors to meet the families they have adopted. However, you can be sure that your donation has made a difference and has been greatly appreciated by the family.

Why do some families ask for basic items and others seem to focus on expensive or more luxury items?

While we encourage families to focus on basic needs, we also ask them to think of a 'special wish.' Many of our families have never had the opportunity to wish for something 'frivolous.' Sometimes, a family might get carried away and request expensive items. Please don't be offended. Read through the different family profiles and feel free to choose a family whose values seem to be most in line with your own. Remember, you are not obligated to provide everything on the wish list. We ask that you provide at least two gifts for each person. You are welcome to provide more if you wish.

Should I wrap the gifts?

Yes, please. Unless otherwise specified please wrap and tag or label each gift.

Can I bring my gifts at a time other than the drop off dates?

If at all possible we ask donors to choose one of the scheduled drop off dates (there are both evening and Saturday times). These are the times we have staff and volunteers on duty to accept the gifts and coordinate with the families. If you absolutely cannot comply with the scheduled drop off dates, contact the drop off location's local office (numbers are on this website) to request an alternate plan.

Do I need to provide gift receipts?

Gift receipts are a great idea, but are not required. If you do have gift receipts or any documentation related to the gifts, we suggest that you place it in an envelope (with any gift cards) labeled with the family code and hand it to the staff member who receives your donation at the drop off site. The staff member will see that the envelope is stored securely until the family receives the gifts.

How does the program work?

Individuals or groups desiring to adopt a family browse the profiles of families in need. Each profile includes a brief description of the individuals being adopted, along with the first name or initial and age of each person. The family members each fill out a 'Wish List'. Occasionally children (and some parents) get carried away and ask for expensive items. Please don't be offended by this. Donors are NOT obligated to buy everything on the list. Donors wrap the gifts and drop them off at the assigned Brighter Beginnings location on the scheduled drop off date. Brighter Beginnings staff members facilitate the transfer of the gifts to the families.

Will my employer match my gift with a donation to Brighter Beginnings?

It's possible! Some employers will match employee in-kind gifts (such as an Adopt-A-Family gift) with a donation. Such 'matching donations' are crucial to funding our programs and client assistance. For help with an employer match, please contact your HR department, or reach out to Lucy Rios in Brighter Beginnings' Development Department at,

Can I receive a tax receipt for the purchases I make?

Absolutely. Download and fill out this form and bring it with you for us to sign when you drop off your gifts.

For more information about Brighter Beginnings please go to

For general inquiries please contact us at (877) 427-7134

Who are the families?

All of the families are clients or patients of Brighter Beginnings. Most of the families involved are struggling economically and require some assistance to provide special gifts and food for the holiday season.

What is the cost involved?

It is difficult to put an exact cost on adopting a family. It can vary greatly by family size, needs and donor resources. We do ask that you purchase only new gifts and that at least two gifts be given to each family member. We encourage donors to consider providing for some food for the family, such as a gift card to a local grocery store.

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How should I package the gifts?

Place all items in sturdy boxes with lids (or flaps) and tape securely to close. Maximum weight for boxes is 30 lbs. Boldly write the Family Code Number (found on the Family Profile) on all 4 sides and the top of each box. Mark each box to indicate the total number of boxes included (i.e; 1 of 3, 2 of 3 etc.)

Can I give gift cards?

Absolutely! Most family profiles include a list of the family's preferred shopping locations. Gift cards are always welcome. We suggest that you place the gift cards in an envelope labeled with that family code and hand it to the staff member who receives your donation at the drop off site. The staff member will see that the envelope is stored securely until the family receives the gifts. This minimizes the risk of loss. From time to time there are problems with gift cards; sometimes they are not properly validated at the time of purchase. You can prevent this problem by attaching the receipt to the gift card.

How does the family receive the gifts?

Our staff will coordinate delivery of the gifts to the families in time for Christmas. Keeping to your scheduled drop-off date is very important, as it allows our staff the time to ensure that all gifts reach all families on time.