Club plays Santa to needy family

Photo courtesy of Patti Radakovich

Patti Radakovich, third from left, poses with other U of M Club of Downriver members at the wrapping party Monday for their Adopt-a-Family event at the Riverview Public Library.

Sunday Times Newspapers

RIVERVIEW – A group of local University of Michigan alumni are hoping to make one family’s Christmas a little more merry.

The U of M Club of Downriver met at the Riverview Public Library Monday to wrap presents they donated as part of their fifth annual Adopt-a-Family event.

Club members donated presents and gift cards to a local needy family they found through The Information Center in Taylor. The family chosen consists of a mother, father and five children, including one with cognitive disabilities.

“We wanted to do something that gave back to the community,” event organizer Patti Radakovich said. “With our club, one of the things we do is scholarships to U of M students, but we decided that around the holidays, we wanted to do something with the larger communities, not just U of M. We’re all members of the larger communities as well.”

The family was selected randomly by the center after club members used figures from past years to estimate the number of presents they’d be able to supply, Radakovich said. The center also supplies suggestions for items the family would like.

This year, the club was able to fill an entire table in the library with presents for the family, she said. Each child will receive about seven presents from the club.

“We did get presents for each child and the mom and dad,” she said. “We got things that weren’t on the list too.”

In past years, the club has kept in mind the wishes of the family and bought presents accordingly, Radakovich said.

One year, they bought Pistons tickets for a family that loved sports.

Throughout the years, the program has continued to grow. Many club members have “adopted” their own families through The Information Center and supplied them with Christmas presents, she said.

“Because of our program more families are being helped,” Radakovich said. “Our members have taken it upon themselves to help.”