BY LEANN DILBECK –
Multiple agencies are joining efforts to remember every foster child at Christmas time. These agencies ensure that all children within Polk County who are receiving services through the Department of Children and Family Services or in foster care receive gifts and necessities this Christmas.
Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), The CALL, Polk County Foster Parents Association, Department of Human Services, and the Salvation Army are all working collectively and are asking for the community’s support.
Kathy Burks leads the Foster Parents Association, and works each year to secure cash donations to be able to present to the various foster parents throughout Polk County to help provide gifts, food, clothes, etc. for the children in their care. To help sponsor a foster parent or for more information please contact Kathy Burks 479-234-5472. Please make checks out to The Polk County Foster Parent Association, P.O. Box 72, Mena, AR 71953.
CASA works with the Department of Children and Family Services to be able to secure gifts for the children who are in foster care. These children have been removed from their homes and pulled into the foster care system in Polk County. Many of these children are placed in other counties due to the shortage of foster homes here. Cynthia Martin, Executive Director for CASA, explained that they work each year getting “wish lists” from these children and will have those as well as their age, gender for those who wish to purchase for them. She or Renee Hendrix may be contacted at their office at 812 DeQueen Street, Suite G in Mena or can call the office at 479.243.9277.
The Salvation Army will be erecting “Angel Trees” at Freedom Pharmacy and Mena Newspapers’ office for those wishing to purchase Christmas gifts for additional children in the foster care system. This particular project will benefit children who have been removed from their homes in other counties but due to insufficient foster parents available in their area, or for other security reasons, have been relocated to foster parents in Polk County.
Jennifer Brewer with The CALL will help ensure that children who are new to the foster care system are also provided gifts. Since there are children who are brought in at the “last minute” before Christmas, safeguards are in place so that they will also wake up to gifts on Christmas morning.