Frequently Asked Questions

Where should I drop off the gifts?

Gifts are dropped off at our office locations. When you sign on, you choose a specific area (Richmond, Antioch, or Oakland). During the adoption process, you will choose one of two dates (a Wednesday or a Saturday). Gifts must be dropped off at the location associated with the adopted family; ie: if you adopt a family from our Richmond program, please drop off the gifts at our Richmond location. Delivery locations, directions and drop off dates are posted on the home page of the web site. When you bring the gifts, please also bring the in-kind donor receipt form (which you can download here), filled out, to the drop-off site. If possible, please include the receipt for the purchase of the gift cards; that will help us troubleshoot should a problem arise.

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.

Should I wrap the gifts?

Yes, please, with the exception of gift cards. Please place any gift cards (and receipt if possible) in an envelope labeled with the family’s code number.

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

We ask donors to choose one of the scheduled drop off dates (there are both evening and Saturday options). These are the times we have staff and volunteers available 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 the home page of this web site) to request an alternate plan.

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 Jennifer Shallat at,

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.

I forgot my password. How do I log back in?

A forgotten password is easy to remedy. Click here.

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.

How else can I support Brighter Beginnings?

Thanks for asking! To find out more ways to support Brighter Beginnings go to

Who are the adoptable families?

All families served by the Adopt-A-Family program are clients of Brighter Beginnings through its home-based support programs, and Federally Qualified Health Centers. Through this ‘adoption’ process, low-income families are matched with a donor who purchases seasonal gifts and necessities for the family. The donor drops the gifts off at one of our centers in Alameda or Contra Costa County and we distribute the gift cards to the adopted family. This is a great way to do something that is really appreciated and needed by the families we serve.

Why do some families ask for only basic needs 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 gifts for everything on the wish list. We hope to provide at least two gifts for each person. You are welcome to provide more if you wish.

How should I package gift cards?

Place the gift cards in an envelope. Clearly write the Family Code Number (found on the Family Profile) on the envelope. 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 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 create 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 provide for every wish on the list. Donors purchase gifts/gift cards to correspond with the wish list and drop them off at the assigned Brighter Beginnings location on the scheduled drop off date. (Please remember to wear a mask and maintain physical space.) Brighter Beginnings staff members facilitate the transfer of the gifts to the families.

Can I receive a tax receipt for my gift donation?

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

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 plan for at least two gifts to be given to each family member. A greatly appreciated addition is a gift card to a local grocery or large store, to help with buying food for a holiday meal.

How many families can I adopt?

You can adopt as many families as you want. But once you have adopted 3, you will be prompted to check in with the Adopt-a-Family program manager before the application will allow you to adopt additional families.

Where can I find the family code?

Family codes can be found in a few different places: At the top right of the family profile, listed in orange on your account page after you have adopted, and in the email you receive upon adopting the family.