There are some projects that are so fun or rewarding that they just do not seem much like work. One of those is an exciting new endeavor the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy is taking on that will help spread some holiday cheer! We were recently asked to help OK Foster Wishes and the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS) lead a gift drive that will ultimately deliver holiday presents to approximately 6,000 children in foster care.
OK Foster Wishes has worked closely with DHS for years to assemble “wish lists” that foster kids and parents pass on to their caseworkers. OK Foster Wishes then matches those wish lists to Oklahomans who volunteer to buy a present on those lists, or to make a monetary donation that covers the costs. DHS then works to deliver those toys to the right children and families.
This year, OICA is playing a lead role in raising toys and cash, and we are asking the public to help in one of two ways:
- Individuals interested in making a monetary contribution can donate online at okfosterwishes.org or by calling (405) 236-5437. The suggested donation is $75, the average cost of fulfilling a list. Funds will be used to purchase a gift on that list as well as support transportation and delivery services.
- Individuals who wish to purchase toys themselves can sign up to receive a wish-list from a foster child at okfosterwishes.org. Lists will be sent out via email starting this week. Gifts can be delivered to select drop-off points, listed at okfosterwishes.org or by calling the above number to find a location close to you.
Participating in this gift drive will help Oklahoma’s foster kids, many of whom are going through difficult periods in their lives, know they are loved and not forgotten. It also helps foster parents who might not be able to afford gifts for the children they are caring for due to tight budgets.
We are encouraging Oklahomans to give generously to make sure we put a smile on these kids’ faces this holiday season. Think back to your own childhood and how special it was to receive that one gift from a loved one that filled you with joy. For others, it might have been a different circumstance where the wish for a gift never was fulfilled. Here is your chance to make certain a child has a happy morning when they wake up to unwrap that special gift which they requested.
OICA and OK Foster Wishes are working in conjunction with the DHS Office of Community and Faith Engagement to provide gifts to children living in more than 50 counties across the state. Any gifts which come in to us through a donation not on a list will be used to fulfill last minute lists from kids, lists which might not get filled, or to support the programs in other counties.
Please join OICA and OK Foster Wishes this year to be a surrogate Santa and help make the holidays bright for these youngest Oklahomans!