Children everywhere will soon be making their Christmas wish lists, families throughout the Parkland will be decorating their homes for the holidays, and people across the nation will be celebrating the season with family, friends and coworkers.
Once all the hustle and bustle starts, however, it's easy to forget those who may not be as fortunate.
With Christmas less than a month away, plans are already well underway for this year's annual Foster Children Christmas Party being held at Calvary Church in Fredericktown.
"Every year we are amazed at the generosity of community organizations, churches and individuals who come together to give these children a night that they will remember," said Kim Pate, event coordinator. "The annual Christmas Party is a night when the children and their foster families have the opportunity to experience a magical Christmas. The children are treated to pictures with Santa, pizza, drinks, games and gifts. The most important aspect of the evening is having a sense of belonging and seeing how everyone comes together to honor these children.”
Pate said local businesses, community organizations and individuals are needed now to help sponsor the event.
"On Christmas morning there are nearly 550 children in foster care in St. Francois, Madison, Ste. Genevieve and Washington counties who will not wake up in the same home as their parents or possibly even their siblings," she said. "These are the children who wonder whether or not Santa will find them in their foster home. Will they have presents under the Christmas tree or will Santa give them what they want most of all — to be with their families?
"Although you may not be able to grant all of their wishes, you can help them to know they matter and are not forgotten. You can embrace the holiday season by making difference in the lives of these local children by becoming a foster child's sponsor, making a monetary donation or holding a toy drive. Individuals and groups who choose to sponsor a child, will receive a child's wish list with items they've requested."
Pate added that, since they want all of the foster children treated equally, donors are asked to spend around $75 per child on their gifts. Donations are needed as soon as possible to allow time to purchase just the right gifts for the kids.
To learn how to sponsor a foster child or to learn more about the Christmas party, contact Pate at 573-783-1445 or email Pamela Herzog at Pamela.R.Herzog@dss.mo.gov.