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Newsroom Topeka Firefighters Union Donates to Benefit Youth in Foster Care

A Topeka union of firefighters presented a check for $2,000 to a local quilting group on Tuesday, Nov. 29, that will benefit youth in the Kansas foster care system.

Local 83​, a union of Topeka firefighters, donated the funds to the Topeka-based Country Quilters at the Topeka Fire Administration Building, 324 SE Jefferson St., Topeka. The quilting group will use the money to create products to donate to Project Warm Embrace, a program of the Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF) that provides quilts, afghans and blankets to youth in foster care.

Kim Yoxall, DCF Assistant Director of Programs for the East Region, told the group gathered for the donation that about 800 Kansas children are removed from their homes and put into out-of-home placement each year. DCF and its two contracted partners, KVC Kansas and Saint Francis Community Services, coordinate donations from quilt and blanket makers to give each child in care a gift to convey love and care. 

“Project Warm Embrace is a very special way that we can communicate to these children that they aren’t forgotten, but rather that people care very much about them,” Yoxall said.

This year, Project Warm Embrace has received more than 1,500 quilts and blankets statewide to provide to children in foster care.

“Local 83 is dedicated to serving the Topeka community, and we felt like this was a great opportunity to help children who are taken from their homes in very unfortunate circumstances,” said Local 83 President Aaron Freeman. 

The Country Quilters, a group with about 100 members, will use the money to produce dozens of quilts for children in foster care, coordinating with DCF to make blankets of various styles and sizes. Quilts typically require five to eight hours to produce and can cost anywhere from $15 to $100.

“We’ve made quilts for other charities. It’s something that we love to do, to help others through our time and efforts,” said Country Quilters member Dorothy Stephenson, who accepted the check on behalf of the group. “We’re so glad we could partner with the firefighters to do something for the children.”

Learn more about Project Warm Embrace. To make a blanket donation to Project Warm Embrace, please visit your location DCF service center.