Since 1997, the Widener Law Center and Clinic Adopt a Family Program has embraced the spirit of Christmas and brought hope to a family in need. The program began with the idea of a simple food drive called the Cookie Walk; employees were to bring non-perishable food items in exchange for admission to the event, and those food items would be donated to a disadvantaged family adopted by the Law Center. Assistant Dean and Registrar Dottie Hemphill and Professor Nathaniel C. Nichols, then Dean of Students, wanted to help a family that had been devastated by horrific domestic violence. The Widener Law community stepped up and provided the single mother and her three young daughters with a Christmas tree adorned with lights and decorations as well as enough food to fully stock the shelves and the refrigerator, including two frozen turkeys. When Professor Nichols and Assistant Dean Hemphill delivered the food to the family, the State Police were on hand to ensure the family’s safety from an abusive husband and father who had shot the family dog in front of his children. Touched by the grateful family, Professor Nichols and Assistant Dean Hemphill vowed to continue the program with a new family every Christmas.
Beginning in 2000, the Adopt a Family Program took on two families, and thanks to the dedication of the Widener Law community, the number of families has increased steadily since then. Now, in 2007, the Adopt a Family Program hopes to provide five families in need with food, clothing, and toys. The families adopted this year were selected from disadvantaged families who received legal assistance from students in the Delaware Civil Law Clinic and the Pennsylvania Civil Law Clinic. Throughout the years, children who have been helped by the program have taken the time to thank benefactors who they never met. As Dottie Hemphill noted, “One girl continued to express her gratitude by sending letters every year for several years after.” The Adopt a Family Program offers members of the Widener Law community a wonderful opportunity to give a child hope by demonstrating that you care. You can make a difference while doing your shopping this Holiday season by picking up some clothing or a toy for one of our adopted families while you buy presents for your loved ones.
Students, faculty, staff, family, and friends of the Law Center are encouraged to bring new clothing and toys or very gently used items to the Registrar’s office by December 19th.
Non-perishable food items will be collected at the Dean’s Holiday Party on December 13th
, but can also be dropped off at the Registrar’s Office for those who cannot attend. Faculty and staff are also encouraged to participate in a “wrapping” party on December 20th
where pizza, soda, and holiday music will be in abundance.