Mission & History
The Host a Family program officially began in 1992 and was started by a teacher from Stoughton Middle School who saw certain students in need of clothing, food and gifts during the holiday season. She felt that there could be a mutual benefit to families-in-need and community-members-who-want-to-give by forming a program for hosts to anonymously provide holiday gifts for both children and adults, and other much needed personal and household items, to those families. With direct help from the middle school principal and from Dane County Human Services, along with the generosity from local families or organizations (including the FFA from Stoughton High School which has continued its support every year since!), ten Stoughton families were served that first year.
Over the years the program expanded to include additional communities served by the Stoughton Office of Dane County Human Services, and the number of receiving families increased dramatically. Today, with the ongoing assistance from DCHS, schools, churches, various organizations, many families, and dozens of volunteers, the HAF program now serves more than 300 families in need in its program area including the four communities of Stoughton, McFarland, Oregon and Brooklyn.
During the first few years, volunteers would pick up gifts from the hosts and deliver them directly to the recipients. As the program grew, HAF found a central location for hosts to drop off gifts and for the recipients to pick them. Recently the program has run for four days in December out of Lakeview Church in Stoughton, WI for people to give to others in their own communities.
This year, HAF is making adjustments in order to keep everyone’s health and safety in mind. Monetary donations can be made online (using the form to the right). Gift cards will be purchased to give to families who have applied for assistance this holiday season.
In tune with its roots and mission, HAF continues to operate as a volunteer-run, non-profit organization where donations go directly to families in need; not to overhead. HAF is dedicated to assisting families in need as well as providing a local, worthy, and anonymous way for people to give to others in their own communities.
Today, Host A Family has truly established a way for community members to act locally and support their neighbors in need in a meaningful and tangible way.