Association requests help with foster children’s Christmas gifts

Many times foster parents get a call late in the night, and a child will come with the clothes on his or her back and little else, Shelby County Foster Parents Association (SCFPA) Secretary and Events Coordinator Delona Glenn said.

The child may need a safe place for the night. He may need a place long-term. Whichever, he needs a loving family. Foster parents provide this.

Twice a year, in spring and summer, SCFPA helps provide for such children by giving free clothing to area foster families.

This year’s fall event was held Oct. 23 in Chelsea.

The association’s biggest event each year is a Christmas party for foster and adopted children, hosted by a church. Close to 200 children are expected to attend this year. “This is an estimate of how many children are in care,” Glenn said.

A meal is served at the party, and children receive Christmas gifts, donated by churches, other groups and individuals.

Churches host a Basket of Wishes where individuals select a card bearing the name, age and wish list of a child for whom they purchase a gift.

Gift cards from Walmart, for $25 each, are the most popular gift for the teenagers.

The SCFPA is presently requesting gifts for this year’s Christmas party, and asks that all items be purchased by Nov. 27, so volunteers can make sure that all children have a gift from their list.

Another big need of the association is a permanent Resource Center, or exchange closet where families may come and select clothing for children in their care.

“The SCFPA is proud to be able to help our foster families,” Glenn said. “It is a hard job taking children into your home and helping them heal and grow strong. The entire family is impacted with each new placement. Whether it’s for an overnight emergency shelter or a long-term placement, the whole family has to be committed to the cause.”

Churches willing to host a “Basket of Wishes,” and anyone willing to purchase Christmas gifts for foster children or help in any way, may contact Delona Glenn at 678-2928 or delonaglenn@gmail.com.

Shelba Nivens can be reached by e-mail at ssnivens@bellsouth.net.