TULSA, Okla. — With Christmas just days away, some foster children in Oklahoma might not have as many gifts under the tree this year.
Fostering Connections' annual fundraiser "Fostering Joy" provides Christmas gifts for children in DHS care.
“These children don’t have a choice," said Amy Jenson, mobile coordinator for Fostering Connections. "This is what they were dealt.”
So far this year, the nonprofit has been able to buy gifts for more than 800 Oklahoma children.
“Over the course of the last few weeks, we have been handing out these gifts to foster parents," Jenson said. "And some of them have cried. Some of them have hugged us. And that’s because they know how happy their child is going to be on Dec. 25. That makes it all worth it. And we don’t want to leave anybody out.”
But, some could get left out. Last year, Fostering Connections served kids in four counties. This year, it’s serving 14 counties. The pandemic left other nonprofits and agencies that would normally help out unable to do so this year.
“We have had to step up and really help these children," Jenson said. "And that requires more sponsors, more people knowing about what we need, getting more people to donate clothing and items for us and it’s tough.”
Fostering Connections is looking to fill another 800 wishlists. Each list is $75 worth of presents.
Because there’s such a need, foster parents were able to pick out items in the nonprofit's warehouse on Tuesday.
The goal is to put presents under the tree for children who may not have had a Christmas before.
“When you were growing up and you opened a gift that you wanted, the excitement filled you," Jenson said. "It still does for me. Why shouldn’t every child deserve that? No matter where they are, even if they’re not in their own home, they deserve to feel that excitement and that happiness and that joy.”
If you'd like to help out, you can donate on Fostering Connections website here or via mail to 3326-B East 51st Street, Tulsa, OK 74135. You can also text “FOSTERINGJOY” to 44321.
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