Pay It Forward - our Annual Adopt-a-Family Tradition

Real Estate Agent with Compass CA DRE# 01215160

Belinda Spillman once again is spearheading an Active Rain challenge, asking us to share ways we pay it forward. The idea behind this isn't for us to brag, but by sharing examples of ways we've found to make a difference, we might spark an idea in others, who will then implement their own way to add a bright spot in the life of another.

This is the 4th year my family and I have participated in San Francisco's Compass Family Services Adopt-a-Family program.

Gene with gifts

This year "our" family consists of a single mother, two daughters ages 13 and 10, and a baby boy, age 16 months. They live in one room in an apartment; they sleep on bunk beds. The mother's wish is for her daughters to continue to do well in school; she'd like to take them to visit the Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park. She would love to have a riding toy for her son, and could really use a toddler bed so he'd have his own bed. The girls enjoy art, reading, playing with their little brother. One likes red, one is a fan of purple. They like Chinese food. Their needs are winter jackets; wants include art supplies, basketball shoes, a Monster High doll.

assembling the riding toy

Compass Family Services gives us clear guidelines of what should be purchased, and allows us to do what we see fit after meeting the minimums (3 gifts-$25 or less for each child; grocery store card for the family, $100 for a family of four; 1 gift for each adult.)

For the first time this year, we invited several San Francisco friends to join us. One couple brought art supplies, clothing for the little boy and joined our gift wrapping party, complete with food, bubbly, Christmas music, lights, laughter and fellowship. Frank and Gene diligently assembled the riding toy.

Assembling the toddler bed


Another friend had a used toddler bed, mattress and linens. After checking, I was told yes, the family would very much like it; so we picked it up and Gene put it together. Also a first this year, I am in direct contact with the recipients, so we'll be delivering the bed, along with the other gifts to them next Saturday.


This family lives about one-half mile from us, yet worlds away. They are our neighbors, with the same wishes and aspirations of most of us.

Ready for delivery

Definitely my favorite part of the Christmas season, it's hard to say who benefits the most from this program, the recipients or us.

Gift wrapping party crew


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Sam Shueh
(408) 425-1601 - San Jose, CA
mba, cdpe, reopro, pe

What a brilliant idea.....

How nice it is to adopt a family. 

Best wishes,

Sam Shueh

Dec 10, 2015 12:12 PM #14
Roger D. Mucci
Shaken...with a Twist 216.633.2092 - Euclid, OH
Lets shake things up at your home today!


            Thanks for your participation.....great selection for second place!

Jan 01, 2016 03:15 AM #15
Bruce Brockmeier
Internet Marketing Consultant to REALTORS® - Yorba Linda, CA
Coached By Crouch

What a great way to help your neighbors!  I've been hearing how your market has some of the highest rental prices in the whole country.  It cannot be easy for a single mother.

Jan 01, 2016 03:33 AM #16
Pamela Seley
West Coast Realty Division - Murrieta, CA
Residential Real Estate Agent serving SW RivCo CA

That's a neat idea to adopt a family! I'm sure your adopted family will be pleased this Christmas. Happy New Year and wish you continued success,

Jan 01, 2016 03:38 AM #17
Debra Leisek
Bay Realty,Inc Homer Alaska - Homer, AK

I really love this... the fact you get to know them and help them is really special..and so heartfelt.. It really is better to give than to recieve.. most of us have so much and to be able to help someone just makes your heart happy! HAPPY NEW YEAR to You and Yours!

Jan 01, 2016 03:46 AM #18
Sharon Lee
Sharon Lee's Virtual Assistance - Jonesborough, TN
Retired and loving life

Lottie-What a fantastic and truly rewarding thing you did and even better you had extra folks to help.  Love the bed and the car as well. Congrats on being the 2nd place winner in this contest.

Jan 01, 2016 04:47 AM #19
Nicole Doty - Gilbert Real Estate Expert
Zion Realty - Gilbert, AZ
Broker/Owner of Zion Realty

Lottie this was a fantastic Pay-it-Forward post and gesture. I know that family was very appreciative of your generosity!

Jan 01, 2016 05:31 AM #20
Maureen Bray Portland OR Home Stager ~ Room Solutions Staging
Room Solutions Staging, Portland OR - Portland, OR
"Staging Consultations that Sell Portland Homes"

Your story is inspirational Lottie Kendall and gives everyone involved (the givers and the recipients) loads of good feelings.  Thanks for sharing it with us!

Jan 01, 2016 06:28 AM #21
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

Congratulations  Lottie Kendall for sharing your kindness and generosity.  You are a shining example and make us all proud.

Jan 01, 2016 09:02 AM #22
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

Lottie Kendall I know you are so generous - and this is an excellent way to 'Pay It Forward'!

Jan 01, 2016 01:46 PM #23
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

(And congratulations for winning the contest - a well-deserved win.)

Jan 01, 2016 01:46 PM #24
Lottie Kendall
Compass - San Francisco, CA
Helping make your real estate dreams a reality

Thanks, everyone, for your comments. I hope to take part in the Adopt-a-Family program for years to come--it's Christmas for me! Happy New Year.

Jan 01, 2016 03:27 PM #25
Debra B Albert, PA - Keyes Realty
Keyes Realty Treasure Coast, 34986 - Port St Lucie, FL
Ron and Debbie 772.708.3292

Heartwarming story and Great Work from you and your friend too!  What a great project!  Your generosity is heart felt and brings tears to my eyes.  What a great difference in someone elses life make in your own.

Jan 01, 2016 07:53 PM #26
Ed Silva
Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

What a wonderful story and a better program to help needy families at a time of year when all want that special inner glow.  Congratulations and well done

Jan 01, 2016 10:01 PM #27
Troy Erickson AZ Realtor (602) 295-6807
Good Company Real Estate - Chandler, AZ
Your Chandler, Ahwatukee, and East Valley Realtor

Lottie - The Compass Family Services Adopt-a-Family program sounds like a great charity to participate in. You are right that people who give to these charities may feel just as much of a reward as those that receive the gifts.

Jan 02, 2016 03:33 AM #28
Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

Lottie, No doubt this made a HUGE impact on that family's Christmas, and it's a true win-win as both sides get a nice warm feeling out of your generosity.  Thanks for making the effort to help!

Jan 02, 2016 04:07 AM #29
What Not To Renovate
What Not To Renovate - Palm Coast, FL
We provide tips & trends on home renos & designs

Hi Lottie,

You're such an inspiration to this community.

Congrats on your place in the contest, you deserve it!

Happy New Year!

Jan 02, 2016 08:39 AM #30
Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Specialist
KD Realty - 408.972.1822 - San Jose, CA
Probate Real Estate

Lottie,  I saw your post announcing that you were preparing for the wrapping party.  I missed this one ... until now. 

What you do for the families is truly inspiring.

Congratulations on placing second in the contest. 

Jan 03, 2016 04:19 AM #31
Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Real Estate
John L Scott Market Center - Birkenfeld, OR
"Your Local Expert!" 503-755-2905

Lottie, such a grand gesture and what you said about them living 1/2 mile away, yet worlds away--very true--in many of our worlds. That's why it's so important to pay attenton to who our neighbors are, for this alone!

Jan 04, 2016 07:46 AM #32
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

Congrats on your WIN!!!

This post is so beautiful. What you did is so beautiful! Brought tears to my eyes!

Jan 07, 2016 11:07 PM #33
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Lottie Kendall

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