Local Foster Children are looking to have a very merry Christmas.
Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) is holding a toy drive for local foster children and asking for unwrapped gifts for children of all ages. Items suggested include: board games, sporting goods, infant toys, arts and crafts, blankets, and gifts for teens.
“We love receiving interactive gifts – items that volunteers can use with their children,” said Kimberly Weiser, Executive Director of CASA. “This could be board games, coloring books, cards, art sets, or sporting equipment, among many other things. We serve children all the way up through their 18th birthday (and sometimes beyond), so having gifts that are appropriate and meaningful for teenagers is important.”
Toys and gifts locally donated will directly benefit children in the Tri-County area of Walker, San Jacinto and Trinity Counties.
“Any toy contributions received are given to the children served by our local program,” Weiser added. “While toys are collected by CASA programs all over the state, our toys are specifically designated for the children of Walker, San Jacinto, & Trinity Counties. Our Volunteer advocates select gifts for their children each Christmas and personally deliver them around the Christmas holiday.”
CASA was founded in Seattle in 1977. It quickly spread all across the country and the CASA program in Walker County began serving children in 2005. San Jacinto and Trinity counties were later added to the program as counties served. There are CASA programs all over the country and state – 72 programs in Texas alone.
“All of the children served by our program have suffered some form of trauma,” Weiser added. “Their lives have been disrupted and many find themselves in new homes and new schools, often with people they have never met. Our Christmas giving creates an opportunity for our advocates to bring a small piece normalcy to our children’s lives, and to allow each child a chance to feel loved and secure in the holiday season.”
Gifts will be collected through Dec. 14 with drop off locations at Farmers Insurance, K&G Capital Mortgage, McCaffery Electric and Tax Express. Toys may also be delivered directly to the CASA office, located at 1410 10th Street.
“The ultimate goal of our program is for every child to find a safe and permanent home, and to be fully loved and supported by a CASA advocate along the way,” Weiser said. “It’s often said that children are our future – and they are. It’s up to us to make sure our most vulnerable children are well cared for through every month, season, and holiday.”
Cocoa with CASA planned
CASA will be also hosting their “Cocoa with CASA” event on Sunday, Dec. 2 from 2-4 p.m. The event will feature a free photo opportunity with Santa, cookies, and hot chocolate. The family friendly event is an opportunity to learn more about the program and will feature a live auction of four custom-built playhouses.
“This is one of CASAs major fundraisers and is an important part of ensuring that children receive quality services all year-long,” Weisner added.