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Newsroom DCF’s Hope for the Holidays
12/24/2019

DCF’s Hope for the Holidays provides gifts for more than 200 former foster youth and their families 
 
More than $4,000 in monetary donations and gift cards collected for annual gift drive
 
Former foster youth and their families will have gifts this holiday season thanks to the generosity of Kansans including Department for Children and Families employees.

Through the agency’s Hope for the Holidays annual gift drive, 229 aged out foster youth received gifts this year. As part of that, more than $4,000 in monetary/gift card donations were raised.
 
“We have been in awe of the support for Hope for the Holidays from groups and individual sponsors across the state,” said Independent Living Program manager Michelle Reichart, whose staff organized the gift drive.

“DCF staff have been very generous, too, in adopting wish lists and providing gift cards for participants. Independent Living coordinators have already shared stories of the joy youth are experiencing from receiving gifts for themselves and their children. We look forward to Hope for the Holidays every year!”
 
In some instances, like the case of aged out foster youth Amanda Beery, in addition to receiving gifts, she also paid it forward by giving gifts of her own to those in need.
 
Amanda, age 21, who has a 11-month-old daughter named Ophelia, received several gifts for her daughter and herself, including diapers and wipes, but also shared the kindness with two other young moms with babies, gifting a bouncer, baby bathtub, shoes and infant clothes among other items.
 
Last year, with Amanda being nine-months pregnant, her family felt the love from DCF’s Hope for the Holidays gift drive.
 
“We had a lot of gifts from DCF that were really helpful to our home,” she said. “It’s really meaningful getting gifts because there are a lot of aged out youth who don’t have the resources they need to get provisions for their children or even themselves.”
 
This year, she wanted to return the favor.
 

“I felt like because we didn’t have such a dire need, this year, I wanted to give,” Amanda said.

 

DCF works with about 750 youth from foster care, ages 18-26 to ensure they have the support they need to become self-reliant, productive adults. Many of these young people go without traditional holiday celebrations and gifts from loved ones. It’s DCF’s goal to remind them they are not alone and have a whole community of supporters.

 

“I think Hope for the Holidays is just amazing,” Amanda said, “because there are some people who don’t have the support system to help provide for their needs, and this could be the only time of the year that they are able to get those things and ask for those things.”

 

Another former foster youth recently wrote to DCF staff to share her appreciation for the gifts she received as part of Hope for the Holidays.

 

“Thank you all for everything that you guys did for me. I am beyond happy with everything that I got for Christmas. I am so happy with this organization, because it has definitely made many peoples’ Christmases this year including mine. I also wanted to say thank you to all the people who went out and thought about me. I absolutely love the idea of people who don’t know us, thinking about us. I am so grateful for all the gifts I have received, and I’m sure my puppy Lola will be too!”

 

Hope for the Holidays began in 2006 with DCF staffer Stacy Tidwell in DCF’s Manhattan office and has since grown to spread joy to young adults across the state.