We did it, friends! Our “final” gift card tally was 1,149, which means over eleven hundred teens in local foster care are receiving a gift this Christmas! Here’s how the numbers worked out:
Multnomah County: 567 gift cards + a group generously donated 20 gift cards specifically for the Hotline branch which means they are ready to provide a gift for older kids removed from their homes this week.
Washington County: 167 gift cards
Clackamas County: 130 gift cards
Marion County: 110 gift cards
Clark County: 155 gift cards
You all have NO IDEA the impact your generosity is having on both the foster kids who will receive these cards, but also the DHS workers who tirelessly serve vulnerable children in our area. They are absolutely floored with what you all gave and the messages of love that accompanied them. We are making a difference!
This has truly been a community effort — individuals, families, businesses, churches, running clubs, neighbors, Bible studies, and work groups all decided to sacrifice something this Christmas to bless a teen in foster care. I know that some of you gave up a large portion of your Christmas to do this. Your selflessness was evident when I opened package after package, filled with hundreds of dollars worth of gift cards.
Here are some of the responses we’ve received over the past week (more comments are coming — everyone is so busy with this Christmas business!):
From Irvin, an “in-home” supervisor from Marion County:
I want to say “THANK YOU!” Your generosity made such a difference in the lives of so many youth! I am a Supervisor and yesterday, two of the case managers I supervise were able to give gift cards to 3 older teens on their caseloads (the youth wanted to open the cards yesterday but knew they had to wait till Christmas day!). They both talked of how the youth were so excited to get a gift and how happy and appreciative they were. They also talked of how appreciative the parent’s were, as the families were struggling in meeting even their basic needs, so to be able to give their children a gift on Christmas was a big deal to them. Thanks so much and your generosity really did make a difference!
From Sarah, a volunteer working with Embrace Washington in Clark County:
Once again, I’m blown away. Thank you for the box full of gift cards for our teens. I am truly speechless. It is so much more than we expected, and I am perfectly giddy I got to deliver them! And the sweet holiday cards that were included are just amazing. Thank you for your dedication to our community, and for your generosity of resources, time, energy and love.
From Shirley, a program manager at the Hillsboro branch:
Once again you amaze me in all that you are able to do and provide for our youth here in Washington County. These gift cards will go a long way to make many youth’s Christmas extra special.
From Adrienne, a caseworker in Marion County:
Thank you so much for your generous donations. With the gift cards I received I was able to make the holidays a little brighter for 6 teen boys. They were so excited about their iTunes, and couldn’t wait to eat at Subway. Your generosity and kindness is phenomenal!
From Tom, a program manager at the Beaverton branch:
Once again thank you for your generosity. I know our teen units and workers struggle to find appropriate gifts for teens as when the community makes generous efforts to provide gifts for foster children, they often think of the younger kids. On behalf of all the teen case workers and the teens themselves, thank you for your efforts to provide gifts for our older youth in foster care.
From Amy, a caseworker in Marion County:
I am very thankful for the generous donors and all they provide to the children we serve. It is heartwarming to be able to have something to give this time of year to many of the kids we serve who have very little. It is also great to be able to have gift cards because it allows for older children to be able to pick something out they want instead of receiving a gift that may be too young for their actual age. Thank you to our donors for your heartfelt generosity!
Thank you for showing your care and love by donating. Gifts like these tend to have an impact that goes far beyond a $10 gift card.
Are you looking to have an even bigger impact in the lives of our areas’ vulnerable children? The Portland Metro area has a severe shortage of foster homes. We’re at a critical point — there simply are not enough homes to meet the needs of children who need a safe and loving place which means kids are living in homes not best suited to their individual needs and are being split from their siblings (which is quite possibly the most traumatic thing that will happen to them).
Please head to EmbraceOregon.org to learn more about becoming a foster family (either a home for longer-term placements or emergency care). My family is currently fostering two kids and the process to get certified was not as painful as many people (who have often not even gone through it) have complained. I’m also happy to answer any of your questions personally. Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org anytime!
I will update this post with more comments from other counties and branches as they come in.
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