SARASOTA, FL – For many families in our area, the holidays are a time of great excitement and joy, with presents, delicious meals, and time spent with family and friends. For foster children, however, the holidays can be a time of stress and sadness, a time when the thought of their families may dredge up unhappy memories and when they are living with people they may not know very well. Some foster children may never have even experienced a real holiday celebration, with presents and holiday displays.
The Safe Children Coalition’s Angels program works to ensure that foster and other vulnerable children feel the warmth of the holiday season through the donation of gifts from caring members of the community. The program matches sponsors to children’s gift wish lists. Families, businesses, nonprofit organizations and religious institutions can request wish lists, shop and then bring the gifts to Safe Children Coalition (all SCC office locations are listed at sccfl.org/safechildrencoalition-contact), or people can make monetary donations that help support critical, life-saving programs for children who are homeless, abused, and neglected throughout the entire year.
“The holiday season provides the perfect opportunity to reflect, feel gratitude, give thanks and give back to people who are facing challenges within our communities,” said Safe Children Coalition president and CEO, Brena Slater. “For foster children, and other vulnerable children, who have been through so much in their young lives, even a little kindness and compassion can go such a long way. But we need the community’s help to improve the lives of these children, who will be so thankful that people cared to remember and share the joy of the season with them.”
Safe Children Coalition serves nearly 8,000 children a year. Last year nearly 1,700 children were in foster care in Florida’s Circuit 12 (which encompasses Sarasota, Manatee and DeSoto counties), in safe and nurturing foster homes. When children are removed from a home, the primary reasons are drug abuse by a parent or caretaker, domestic violence in the home, physical abuse, neglect, inadequate housing, and abandonment. Approximately 60 children enter foster care every month; when a child is removed from their home, foster parents provide temporary care while the parent or parents receive help, with family reunification the primary goal. Another 6,000 children are served in Prevention and Diversion programs with the purpose of diverting children and families from the foster care system.
Gifts are being gratefully accepted through December 17. For more information or to request a child’s holiday wish list, call the Safe Children Coalition office at (941) 587-9167 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, or go to sccfl.org/angels for additional information.
About Safe Children Coalition, Inc.
Safe Children Coalition, Inc. (SCC) serves as the lead agency for community-based care for Sarasota, Manatee and DeSoto counties. SCC is a collaboration between local community agencies that provide services to children and families in need. SCC is committed to protecting children, strengthening families, and building community. The core functions provided by SCC include: child welfare case management, foster care, adoption, independent living, prevention, diversion, quality management, and support services as well as other social service programs. Visit sccfl.org or call 941-371-4799.