Friday, December 2, 2011

Help Foster Wishes bring Christmas Joy to Foster Children

OK Foster Wishes from Emanate Media, Samson Varughese on Vimeo.

OKLAHOMA CITY -- To be in the service of others is a powerful thing.

The OKDHS Office of Volunteerism joins a number of organizations, including OK Foster Wishes, in an effort to make Christmas all the brighter for foster children across Oklahoma.

Thousands of Oklahoma children in foster care are busy making 'wish lists' for Christmas. Some of the items requested are basketballs, iPhones, X-boxes, dolls and bicycles. Pretty much the same list children everywhere have made for years.

In 2007, members of contacted OKDHS and asked how they could help provide food and gifts for families and children in foster care. 

That first year, helped feed 300 families for Thanksgiving and provided presents to another 1,500 foster children for Christmas. The following year they helped 3,000 foster children in Oklahoma County alone.
Since then, a non-profit organization called OK Foster Wishes was formed to partner with other churches, businesses, individuals and organizations to better serve the hundreds more foster children who have been added to the list. The goal is to eventually provide a happy Christmas to foster children in all 77 counties.

The OKDHS Office of Volunteerism coordinates the effort. 
“We ask all county offices if they would like to participate,” says Karen Jacobs, Coordinator of the OKDHS Office of Volunteerism. “For those that do, they submit ‘wish lists’ from children they serve in foster care and our partners take it from there. 
“There is absolutely no cost to OKDHS. OK Foster Wishes fills all the wish lists and provides coordination with other community partners. They are absolutely wonderful. We couldn't do this without the help of all of our partners.”

Donations can be dropped-off at various locations including OnCue convenience stores, the Oklahoma Employees Credit Union and numerous churches representing a variety of denominations.

Foster care caseworkers will distribute the gifts to children during the month of December. 
“We accept donations right up to Christmas,” says Jacobs. “And we have a toy store at our warehouse so we have presents for children who might arrive late into the system, such as the day before Christmas.”

Gifts are needed for children from infants to age 18. To request a wish list visit or just bring your donation to the Office of Volunteerism.
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