It’s time to start thinking about Christmas, according to the new director of the community’s largest holiday giving program.

Elizabeth Forister is beginning her first year as director of Adopt-A-Family, after accepting the reins from retiring program founder Cleta Null.

“Adopt-A-Family Outreach is getting ready to start its busy season,” Forister said.

Null will remain as a consultant as Forister re-establishes the program at its new headquarters at The Following Church, 523 W. St. Louis St.

“We will soon be looking for donations, as well as volunteers, to lend a hand for our busy Christmas season,” Forister said. “We are so happy to be serving the community in its 26th year.”

Null, who founded the program in her basement 26 years ago, retired from the Christmas assistance program at the end of the 2016 season, as volunteers filled 450 family Christmas packages.

In recent years, Adopt-A-Family assisted over 2,400 children each year and 120 senior citizens and nursing home patients.

As the community took the program to heart, Null coordinated the efforts of hundreds of volunteers who filled family baskets, wrapped packages, sewed little girls dresses, repaired new but returned to the store bicycles, picked up donations and delivered Christmas packages.

The late Randy George, superintendent of the Meramec Valley R-III School District, assigned district facilities and personnel to assist with coordinating the program.

All of those people are needed again this year, Forister said.

“Please open your hearts and contribute if you can to this meaningful charity that makes such an impact to so many children and families in our community,” she said.

For more information, call Forister, 314-791-3649, or Null, 636-742-2244, or email adoptafamilyoutreach@gmail.com.