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 in Florida’s Circuit 12 (encompassing Sarasota, Manatee and DeSoto counties) 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.
Already in 2022, more than 100 sponsors have generously addressed the wish lists of several hundred children but there are always additional youths coming into the system to cover. Now the agency is seeking community members who can shop for general wish list items to help every child have something under the tree. Families, businesses, nonprofit organizations, and religious institutions can sign up for a wish list at sccfl.org/angels, and then bring the gifts to Safe Children Coalition 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 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 youths, 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 served nearly 9,300 children in Foster Care and Adoptions and Prevention and Diversion programs this year. 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. Over 2,000 children were served in licensed foster care and out-of-home care placement in our community this year. More than 7,000 children were 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 16. For more information or to request a holiday wish list, go to sccfl.org/angels, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call the program direct line at 941-356-9445.
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.