For the Kids, a foster and adoption association that serves families in Barry and Lawrence counties, is currently accepting gifts for its annual Christmas effort.
"This is a magical time of year, especially for kids," said Mellisa Jones, a local foster parent and For the Kids volunteer. "Several children will be placed with new families just a week or two prior to Christmas and wonder if Santa will know where they are at.
"Many families that adopt children or serve as foster parents take in a lot of kids, and it is hard to make sure each child gets the things they want," said Jones. "This is a way for people to help put smiles on the faces of some of these children and make things a little easier for these families."
Individuals and groups interested in helping with the effort can adopt one or more children for Christmas. The donor will be asked to purchase items on the child's wish list. The entire list can usually be filled for a cost of $50 to $75, said Jones.
"Each child is asked to write down up to three items that they are asking Santa for," said Jones. "We encourage families, groups and businesses to adopt more than one child for the holiday season."
In addition to toys and games, many children ask for clothes, shoes and other necessities, said Jones.
"We ask that the gifts be left unwrapped to allow the families to wrap the gifts for the children," said Jones. "After the wish list is filled, the donor can call a For the Kids member to arrange a pickup of items."
Individuals, groups and businesses can also help with the Christmas effort through monetary donations, which will be used to fill the wish lists of children who are not adopted and help pay for the organization's annual Christmas dinner.
"We invite all foster and adoptive families in Lawrence and Barry counties to attend the dinner," said Jones. "We usually have between 150 and 200 adults and children attend the event.
"Santa makes a visit during the dinner," said Jones. "We also try to have some toys to hand out to the children who attend. It is a community event for parents and families who understand the trials that each other face."
Children who attend the dinner will also have the opportunity to make Christmas crafts.
"The dinner is fun for the kids and relaxing for the parents," said Jones. "It offers a time for fellowship that really enhances this wonderful holiday season."
For the Kids also provides children and families with hygiene items and other necessities throughout the year. The organization meets in Aurora. All local foster and adoptive families are invited to join the organization.
For more information, call Jones at 417-678-7562 or 417-536-9286. She can also be contacted by e-mail at email@example.com.