Adopt a Family for the Holiday Season

The Student Parent HELP Center (SPHC), a program of the University of Minnesota, Office for Student Affairs, is seeking sponsors for its annual Adopt-A-Family, holiday assistance program.

The SPHC serves undergraduate students who are pregnant or parenting children while earning their first degree. These are dedicated, hard working students who are making sacrifices to get an education and provide a better future for their children. The support they receive through this program helps students who might not be able to afford holiday gifts for their children after paying for tuition, books, rent, child care, and other family expenses.

Please check the list below and select the family you would like to sponsor. To select a family, complete the Adopt a Family form. If possible indicate second and third choices in the Comment box. Since the webpage doesn't automatically update it is helpful to have an alternate family choice. Numbers are assigned to families for identification purposes only. Please understand that the wish lists below should be considered as ideas. Families do not expect all the items they’ve listed and will be grateful for any assistance.

Gift Drop-off Instructions

Wrapped gifts (please indicate on the outside of each package the number of the family you selected, and indicate the recipient on each gift [example: Family 3, son, 4 years old]) should be delivered to Student Parent Help Center, 24 Appleby Hall, 128 Pleasant Street S.E., Minneapolis, MN 55455, between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5 p.m., M-F. They must be received no later than December 11, 2014 in order for students to get them before break.

Due to parking issues on the East Bank, please call 612-626-6015 before dropping gifts off so that we can provide updated delivery and parking instructions and have someone on hand to help unload your gifts. We have a parking pass and loading dock where you can easily pull up, avoid parking fees and be in and out in under 15 minutes. However, the only way we can arrange this is to have an exact appointment time booked so we can meet you in the dock behind Appleby Hall with the required parking pass and assist you with the gifts. So please call in advance if you wish to use our parking doc and pass, as you will also need to be provided with directions on how to enter dock.Those needing to deliver their gifts later than 5 p.m. may state that when booking their drop-off appointment and all efforts will be made to have staff on-site to accommodate you whenever possible.

Off Site Drop Location

We are also offering a one day, off-campus, drop off location for those who want to avoid campus traffic entirely. That one day, off-campus, drop-off day is Tuesday, December 9, 2014. This location is the SPHC director's home in Roseville near the intersection of Hamline & County Road C, close to the MN-36 exit. Those wanting to use this drop off location should call the main SPHC number at 612-626-6015, state they wish to make a drop at the Roseville location on Dec 9, and provide an approximate drop off time at that location, at which point the full address will be provided. Off-street parking is available at this location.

Mailing Instructions

If you prefer to mail gifts, delivery is required by December 11, 2014. Address packages to University of Minnesota, Student Parent HELP Center, 109 Appleby Hall, Mail No. 3505, 128 Pleasant St. SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455.

Families #1 through #77: Selected!

Family #78: Mother (student), Father, 12-year-old girl, 9-year-old girl

Ideas for 12-year-old girl: [*Sizes: pants/shirt 14, shoes 7]. She loves shoes, clothes and accessories. She likes light blue and green shirts and blue jeans and sweat pants. Target gift card, winter jacket, snow pants, gloves/scarfs, boots, adventure books.
Ideas for 9-year-old girl: [*Sizes: pants/shirt 10-12, shoes 3-4]. She likes very bright pink and purple clothes (shirts, sweaters, pants). She loves gymnastics. Target gift card, boots, snow boots, knitting stuff, books.
Ideas for Mom/Student: Target gift card, pajamas (women’s M), Barnes and Noble gift card.
Ideas for Dad: Target gift card, pajamas (men’s L), Barnes and Noble gift card, winter jacket (men’s L).

Family #79: Selected!

Family #80: Selected!

Family #81: Mother (student), Father, 19-month-old girl

Ideas for 19-month-old girl: [*Sizes: pants 2T, shoes 4W (toddler), shirt 24 months-2T]. Loves books, colors, shapes and letters, zoo animals (loves mooing like cows), Barney, and Elmo.
Barney doll or sing along DVD’s, find anywhere, board books or anything with flaps or popouts, pajamas, socks, sweat pants, shirts and sweaters, snow boots, flash cards or drawing boards, any toys that are colorful and bright or mind challenge games/puzzles, any stuffed animals.
Ideas for Mom/Student: Gift card to Target or for groceries, socks (women’s size 7).
Ideas for Dad: Wool socks (size 8), basic white tees (men’s M/L), fishing lures or braided line, or anything fishing-related, an electric drill.

Family #82: Mother (student), Father, 6-year-old boy, 1-year-old boy

Ideas for 6-year-old boy: [*Sizes: pants 6, shoes 12, shirt small]. Favorite color is gold, likes to play football, likes to color, likes to play with Minecraft games and with Playdoh. Football piggybank, Ninja Turtle toys, Legos, toy sword, soldier/tanks toy, snow boots (size 11/12).
Ideas for 1-year-old boy: [*Sizes: pants 24 months/2T, shoes 7 (toddler), shirt 2T]. He likes to play with stuffed animals, loves to eat, and likes to dance. Elmo toy, Elmo videos, Spongebob toys, stuffed animals, cooking toys, snow boots (size 7 toddler).
Ideas for Mom/Student: Forever21 gift card, makeup (neutral colors), Bath & body stuff, candles.
Ideas for Dad: Hooded solid color sweatshirts in gray or black (size Large), snow boots (men’s size 11), Champs or Foot Locker gift card, car mats.

Family #83: Selected!

Family #84: Selected!

Family #85: Mother (student), Father, 1 1/2-year-old girl

Ideas for 1 1/2-year-old girl: [*Sizes: pants/shirt 18-24 months, shoes 6]. She enjoys building things (she tries “helping” when we use tools), she likes discovering new animals (her favorite right now is elephants), and she really likes bubbles, paints, and balls. Coloring or water paint books, musical instruments, plastic toy tool set, children's beginner books, “Sophia the First” or “Mickey/Minnie Mouse” items
Ideas for Mom/Student: Long sleeve tops (professional looking but NOT button up)- women's XL - 1X, black dress shoes (small heel or flats)- women’s 9 ½ - 10, CDs- Genres: Contemporary Christian or Country, Artists: Francesca Battistelli, Hillsong, DC Talk, Reba McEntire, Lauren Alaina, Scotty McCreery, Tenth Avenue North, movies- Heaven is for Real, God's Not Dead, Hunger Games (any).
Ideas for Dad: Men’s XL button up shirts (not plaid), candy (Skittles, Starbursts, chewy candy), movies: any starring Chuck Norris, any DC Comics or MARVEL super hero movies, “Expendables” or “Expendables 2” with Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger & others.

Family #86: Selected!

Family #87: Selected!

Family #88: Selected!

Family #89: Mother, 4-year-old boy

Ideas for 4-year-old boy: [*Sizes: pants/shirt 5T, shoes 10]. Loves Thomas the Train, trains in general, and books. Snow pants (5T), Dr. Seuss books, Thomas and Friends DVD “Tale of the Brave”, Thomas toddler bedding set (twin size), kid’s book shelf, clothes (5T).
Ideas for Mom/Student: Target gift card, rain boots (size 10), bath/spa set (bath salt, lotion, etc.), The Best Man Holiday DVD.

Family #90: Father (student), Mother, 1-year-old boy

Ideas for 1-year-old boy: [*Sizes: pants/shirt 24 months]. Likes stuffed animals, toys that make noise, especially instruments (bells, maracas, etc.), and to read with mama and papa. Board books (especially tactile books with thick pages and pictures), jingle bells, noisemakers, or drums, a skateboard of any quality (he loves to sit on his uncle’s skateboard and scoot around the house), anything large with wheels that he can push or ride, musical instruments, especially percussion instruments, anything else age appropriate.
Ideas for Dad/Student: Large mittens, wool socks (men’s large), gift card Target or the Wedge Co-op.
Ideas for Mom: Gift card to Target, Barnes and Noble, gas station, or the Wedge Co-op, mittens, essential oils (such as peppermint, eucalyptus, and menthol).

Family #91: Selected!

Family #92: Father (student), Mother, 3-year-old boy, 7-month-old boy

Ideas for 3-year-old boy: [*Sizes: pants 4T, shoes 9M, shirt 3T]. He is a fan of Thomas the Train, likes to play cars, planes, trains, and his favorite color is blue. Any Thomas the Train items, toy drum set (ex. VTech KidiBeats Drum Set or Little Virtuoso Beat Boppers, found on Amazon), Thomas and Friends Kids' "Time Teacher" Stainless Steel Watch with Blue Nylon Band (Amazon), Amazon gift card.
Ideas for 7-month-old boy: [*Sizes: pants/shirt 24 months]. Stuffed animals, Calvin Klein Baby-Boys Newborn Hooded Top with Jean (Amazon), Calvin Klein Baby-Boys Newborn Gray Stripes Hoody with Pants (Amazon), VTech Communications Safe & Sound Digital Audio Monitor with two Parent Units (Amazon), Amazon gift card.
Ideas for Dad/Student: Winter jacket (size medium), The North Face 'Snowfuse' Snow Boots (size 8 or 8.5), gift card.
Ideas for Mom: Plantronics M165 Marque 2 Ultralight Bluetooth Headset (Amazon), Amazon gift card.

Family #93: Mother (student), Father, 6-month-old girl

Ideas for 6-month-old girl: [*Sizes: pants/shirt 6-9 months]. Typically dress her in a onesie, sweater, and soft cloth pants in red, green/blue, purple, and pink. Prefer wooden toys over plastic. Wooden blocks or toys, books, clothes: warm pajamas, warm sweaters or sweatshirts, socks, hats for inside (9+ month size), bibs (she drools a lot), and pants, fleece type blanket, high chair (one that fits on a dining chair is fine or a stand alone one), any toys for 6+ months.
Ideas for Mom/Student: Hand can opener, warm, dark colored socks (shoe size 8), gift certificate for a massage (my daughter is heavy!).
Ideas for Dad: Lush body soap-“Honey I Washed the Kids”, Burts Bees chapstick, white sheet set for queen size bed.

Family #94: Mother (student), Father, 5-year-old boy, 3-year-old boy, 4-month-old boy

Ideas for 5-year-old boy: [*Sizes: pants 4 straight/slim fit, shoes 10.5, shirt 4]. Loves books, animals and dinosaurs, enjoys building things either with Legos or wooden art projects (cars, helicopter, boat), has a great imagination and loves learning new things, likes the band One Direction, likes to wear button down shirts and treasures his black pants from H&M. A second pair of black pants from H&M (size 3/4), button down long sleeves shirts (with or without dinosaurs, animation, cartoons), Transformer T-Rex toy from the newest Transformer movie, books like “Soup for One” with short story, easy to read, and has the concept of learning numbers or words, black socks (for shoe size 10 kids), navy or black snow pants (size 4).
Ideas for 3-year-old boy: [*Sizes: pants/shirt 3T, shoes 9]. Enormous energy, loves playing outdoors, builds barns for animals using imagination and old video cassette tapes, enjoys going to Como Zoo to see animals, favorite color is red, always making new friends everywhere he goes, likes stuff animals, likes to pretend going to school and copying his older brother. Farm animals or dinosaur toys, Jurassic Park or Finding Nemo DVD, sweatpants and shorts (for some reason he wants to wear shorts no matter the weather and dislikes wearing jeans), black pants from H&M (size 2/3), flash cards for memory and matching, coloring books.
Ideas for 4-month-old boy: [*Sizes: pants/shirt 6-9 months]. Still new to the world, only enjoys play time for short time spans. Loves observing and chewing on everything; healthy and wears bigger size than his age. Diapers size 3 or size 4 (Huggies or Pampers), pants, onesies, shirts, overalls/jumpsuits, baby toys, play mat for tummy time.
Ideas for Mom/Student: Knee high socks, plain colors (shoe size 6.5), right-above-the-knee skirts with everyday look or business/professional look, can be with nice designs or just one color (black, dark red/maroon, brown, navy, cream, peach- something that could be worn multiple ways for multiple outfits; women’s size 6) or gift card to Target or H&M, scarf (any design or a single colored scarf with soft/bright color like yellow, cream, lime), gift card for gas.
Ideas for Dad: Iron-free/wrinkle free button down long sleeves shirts, color: blue, maroon, white, black, small stripes design (size medium regular or slim fit for men), gift card for gas, pack of plain white t-shirts (men’s medium), men’s socks (shoe size 8).

Family #95: Mother (student), Father, 2 1/2-year-old girl, 11-month-old girl

Ideas for 2 1/2 -year-old girl: [*Sizes: pants 4T, shoes 9, shirt 5T-6 or XS]. She is very bright and energetic! She loves to play rough and is very much a tomboy in that sense, but she loves frilly, sparkly dresses and feminine colors. She loves playing pretend! She loves stuffed animals and baby dolls, but we already have quite a few of those from when she was younger. Sled – something durable, where mom or dad can ride along with her until she is old enough to do it herself, flashcards – Alphabet, numbers, spelling, etc., alphabet puzzle mat from Lakeshore Learning store- she loves building houses with them so it would be best to get the same brand so they fit together, tea set, pretend food (the 100 piece ones are more fun because there is more variety), Bedazzler – the machine where you glue rhinestones etc. to clothes (she loves sparkles, and “fancy” things, so she would love this!), any clothes from Naartjie (order online, or store in MOA).
Ideas for 11-month-old girl: [*Sizes: pants/shirt 18-24 months, shoes 4 or 12-18 months]. She is very patient, very calm, easy going, and happy! Her birthday is two days after Christmas. Touch and Feel books, Skwish Stix, Stack and Pour cups, Youkidoo Whistling Pull Along Duck (all found at Creative Kidstuff), bath toys, soft bottom shoes (such as Robeez, etc.), clothes from Naartjie (order online or store at MOA).
Ideas for Mom/Student: Anything from REI or an REI gift card, soft knit button down sweaters (styles like they have at Anthropologie, like Sparrow brand, but they are so expensive there- that’s just an idea for style!), warm knit leggings (patterned or solid), fleece lined leggings, or yoga pants (for winter layering or working out), rollup inflatable sleeping mat for camping (about an inch thick), Smartwool socks medium thickness (or something similar).
Ideas for Dad: Anything from REI, or an REI gift card, Eagles Nest Outfitters (ENO) doublenest hammock, ENO slap straps for hammock, rollup inflatable sleeping mat for camping (about an inch thick), thick, durable, and warm socks for work! (men’s large).

Disclaimer: The use of the term "adopt" in this context is not intended to minimize the experience of those who have experienced adoption as an adoptee, an adopter, or the loved one of someone who was adopted.



Alternate Sponsorships

If you would prefer to make a donation, rather than shop for a family, we are also hoping to provide families with grocery store gift certificates for a holiday dinner. You can send a check, payable to the University of Minnesota Foundation with Student Parent Help Center Adopt-a-Family Program in the memo line. Checks should be sent to: University of Minnesota Foundation, P.O. Box 70870, C-M-3854, St. Paul, Minnesota 55170-3854.

Online donations can be made at Scroll midway down the homepage to the CLICK HERE TO DONATE NOW button. Then use the drop down menu to select the Adopt a Family option.

About the SPHC Families

All of the student parents served by the SPHC are low income as verified by information provided on their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). All students participating in the SPHC Adopt-A-Family program are further screened for greatest economic need and specific family or personal hardship that may be preventing the students and their children from celebrating the holidays.

Our student parents typically do not qualify for other holiday assistance programs. When community-based agencies find out they are attending the U of M, they assume they are economically more secure than the working poor or unemployed families typically served by the Salvation Army and other programs. Our U of M students, however, support themselves and their family through the financial aid and loans they receive, along with the hours they work when not in class or with their children. Their educational and household expenses don’t provide anything extra for holiday gifts. Often our students are estranged from their own families due to the pregnancy that has occurred.

The SPHC staff will distribute the donated gifts during the last week of fall term before students leave campus for winter break. Student identities remain anonymous due to confidentiality issues.

For more information about SPHC or the Adopt-a-Family project, please contact Susan Warfield at or call 612-625-0825.