(NewsUSA) – May is National Foster Care Month, and the Marine Toys for Tots Program continues to expand its support beyond the holiday season to deliver emotional comfort and gifts to children living in Foster Care.
Children living within Foster Care face tremendous uncertainty, often lacking a permanent, nurturing family to love and guide them in their formative years.
Toys for Tots’ initiative, Champions for Those in Foster Care, provides toys, books, and other gifts to foster children with the assistance of local organizations across the country. “These children often leave their homes with only a small plastic bag of their belongings. Marine Toys for Tots wants to give Foster Care children not only something tangible to take with them as they move, but also some tools and hope for a brighter tomorrow,” says LtGen Jim Laster, CEO of the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation.
These children are placed temporarily in group homes, residential care facilities, emergency shelters, and supervised independent living homes. Toys for Tots provides resources that help these children during extremely stressful and trying times with the goal of reducing their anxiety and making a positive impact in their lives.
In 2022, the Program joined forces with Houston County, Georgia, Toys for Tots Coordinator, Wendy Chadwell, to distribute bookbags filled with toys, books, and school supplies to foster children in the local area. This initiative was the kickoff of Toys for Tots’ newly established Foster Care initiative that would support children living in Foster Care year-round.
Wendy has a strong connection with the Foster Care system—she serves as the Child Protective Services (CPS) Administrator for the Houston County Department of Family and Children Services (DFCS) year-round. Wendy’s DFCS connections along with her volunteer work as the local Coordinator gave her a strong platform to host the first Foster Care distribution event. She and volunteers in Houston County packed over 400 backpacks and distributed them to local District Foster Care Coordinators that represented eleven surrounding counties and directly provided the backpacks to the children in the local Foster Care Program. “[I was honored] to take on this type of responsibility and tackle this endeavor. The counties have been very appreciative, and the foster parents have been even more appreciative, as well as the kids,” Ms. Chadwell recalls.
This initiative highlights how Marine Toys for Tots is a year-round force for good, positively impacting children beyond the holiday season. In 2022, the Foster Care initiative supported over 447,000 children in the Foster Care system.
In 2023, Toys for Tots will provide toys and books to children living in Foster Care throughout local communities across the Nation – to include Buena Park, CA (assisting approximately 400 children); Quincy, IL (assisting approximately 400 children); Mt. Laurel, NJ (assisting approximately 200 children); and Tucson, AZ (assisting approximately 2,100 children) – as part of the organization’s year-round support to children in need.
These events are part of Toys for Tots’ commitment to empowering children in Foster Care and supporting their foster families throughout the year to renew their hope for a brighter future.
Visit toysfortots.org to donate today and become a force for good for children living in Foster Care!