sponsor a local child in foster care for the holidays

Worthdays has partnered with Richmond City Department of Social Services to ensure that no child in their foster care system goes without being celebrated this holiday season.

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Who

Our program will serve children and youth in RVA’s local foster care system who otherwise will not be celebrated this holiday season. Most of the children we serve do not have family members to celebrate them this holiday season. Many of the children we will serve live in group homes or treatment centers, live with a kinship family or will be celebrating with their teenage parent who is in foster care. We will serve lots of teenagers and some infants, those who celebrate Christmas and some who celebrate Kwanzaa, those who want video games, baby dolls, new shoes or simply need a winter jacket.

Sponsors will chose one (or more!) specific child to sponsor and ensure that child is celebrated this holiday season!

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What

Similar to the Angel Tree program, sponsors will have the ability to chose a child that they would like to sponsor (maybe you want to shop for a little girl who celebrates Christmas and wants a baby doll, or maybe you’d prefer a young man living in a group home who likes LeBron James). Sponsors will shop for their child using a wishlist that we provide with their wishes and needs. We are recommending that sponsors spend about $100 (more is fine, too!) on each child. This is a lot of money for some so we encourage you to use your own social media network, your employee group or your own family members (everyone could bring something to Thanksgiving dinner for the child!) to help make this possible for a local child!

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When

As we speak, social workers are gathering information for wishlists of the children we will serve. Children needing sponsors for the holidays will be available to be sponsored towards the end of October. During November your shopping can commence! There will be a large drop off event on December 1st (time TBA) at River Fox Realty located in the Forest Hill area of Richmond City where gifts can be delivered. For those unable to make this drop off event, gifts can be dropped of during the week of November 26-30th during business hours of 9-5 at this same location and will be accepted on our behalf by the amazing folks at River Fox Realty who have partnered with us to make this possible!

Throughout the month of December, social workers will deliver gifts to ensure they are there in time for the holidays!

Giving Guidelines

  • We are unable to accept any used items (if you have a unique situation and have a question about this please, send us an email!).

  • When able, please include gift receipts. We encourage you to include an envelope where these receipts can be placed for easy finding. Just with any other child and teenager sometimes clothes don’t fit even if you purchased the right size.

  • For children ages 13+, we strongly encourage you to consider that a portion of your gift be in the form of a gift card. This not only allows youth to get items that they desire most but also giving them experience with purchasing, budgeting, making independent decisions, etc.

  • We strongly encourage you to include at least one relevant book because of our belief that reading is good for all children/youth and many kids in foster care have limited access to libraries and books in general.

  • If the child you sponsor is a teen parent or has a teen parent, we will indicate this on your wish list. If you are interested in sponsoring a teen parent AND their child, please shoot us an email letting us know this.

  • When we release information about each child, we will have provided you with the most information we have been given and have asked social workers to be as detailed as possible. Some of the wishlists will be very detailed where others will require more creativity on behalf of the sponsor. Please pay close attention to the wishlist as some will include specific information. Some wishlists will even include specific information such as the race the child most identifies with and what holiday they are accustomed to celebrating. This will help the sponsor ensure their gifts are most reflective of the child. For multiple reasons, we would like to limit questions to the social workers unless necessary. If you do have a question for the social worker, please just email us and we will do our best to get an answer.

  • Gifts can not be wrapped but they can be packaged in gift bags with tissue paper or other creative ways that allow us to fairly easily “see” the gifts. This is the case for many different reasons but most importantly because some of the kids are in treatment centers and absolutely can not have certain items for safety reasons. If you chose to do so, items can be packaged in a piece of luggage (duffel bag, rolling suitcase, etc). This allows us to simultaneously address the national issue of children in foster care carrying their belongings in trash bags from place to place. This is not necessary, however. If you chose not to package your gifts in a piece of luggage or container, we will have on hand large IKEA bags that we will use to keep each child’s gifts together and organized. These bags can carry quite a bit and measure 21x14x13 (and carry a volume of 13 gallons).

  • We will likely not ever know how the holiday went for the child you will sponsor. We, however, hope that through this giving opportunity you feel the intrinsic value of helping a child experience a small window to joy during the holiday season. We are so grateful that you have joined us in this conspiracy of love for the foster care community!

Have a question that is not addressed here? Email caroline@worthdays.org and we are happy to answer it!

FAQ

  1. You mentioned that your recommended amount spent per child is $100. Is it okay if I spend more than that? Yes, of course! The kids we serve are very rarely showered with extra so we say go for it!

  2. Can I wrap the gifts? As much as we would LOVE to have the gifts all wrapped nicely with bows it simply won’t work for our program. For many reasons, the social workers need to be able to “see” (without too much work) the gifts. We are totally open to using gift bags and tissue paper or other creative ways to “wrap” the gifts. As long as it is something that we can fairly easily view the gift then it is fine.

  3. Can you tell us how the child responded when they received the gifts? We most likely will never hear how the gifts were received however we are confident the children we serve will be surprised to be celebrated.

  4. Can I include a card? Yes, please include a card and feel free to sign it. We can not, however, include personal contact information in the cards.

  5. Am I allowed to know the name of the child I sponsor? On the sign up list, all children are listed numerically for confidentiality purposes. We, however, plan to share the name of the child to the specific sponsor at a later time.

  6. Why is it important to share the race of the child? On the sign up list, no demographic information such as race the child identifies with is listed. At a later date, however, we will share this information with the sponsor if the information was voluntarily shared with us. The reason we are sharing the race the child identifies with is we believe that it is important that the children we serve receive items that are reflective of themselves. For example, a baby doll, makeup, toiletries may be requested by the child and knowing the child’s race allows us to get items that match (and embrace) the race they most identify with. If, for example, a child requests a book about cooking and the child is a child of color then finding an amazing cookbook by a person of color may even further inspire and empower them.

  7. If there are no other children to select from the list will there be another opportunity to help? Yes, we will still be celebrating birthdays of children who are born in December and January. These boxes will be due towards the end of November and the end of December. In addition, children enter foster care every day so our list will grow between now and the end of December. If you the list is full and you want to be notified when additional opportunities to help are available, please email us at caroline@worthdays.org