The true spirit of Christmas is giving, blessing others, and new beginnings. At the same time Christmas can be traumatic for many people, especially children in foster care.
Kellie Bruhn sent out an ask on Facebook to collect gifts for foster teens. As a volunteer with Cross Over Ministries, this ask immediately touched my heart. I knew this project was how I could “give back” to a system that takes so much. The system I’m referring to is DCFS. It was the hardest job I ever had.
Some may question why kids in foster care need Christmas gifts. Can you imagine being ripped from the only “normal” you know and placed in a home with strangers? When I was employed with DCFS I did just that. I still struggle with how that additional trauma will be carried forward in the lives of those children. My hope in collecting gifts for teen foster kids is to shower children with love during immense turmoil, especially when they likely brought little with them to their new “home.”
There are many people working in the trenches of DCFS who are dedicated and committed to suffering children. Many children in foster care are traumatized by their lives at home and their transfers in foster care. Although I was no longer able to mentally handle the chaos of that environment, I am able to provide small acts of kindness for innocent children. I asked friends and acquaintances if they would be interested in buying Christmas presents for teens in foster care and was blown away at the response of over $1,600.
Delivery of the wrapped gifts was given to Kellie. The gifts will serve at least 50 teens, probably more. There were four big boxes of 115 gifts wrapped and marked with contents inside. Kellie was overjoyed and humbled by the generosity of Cross Over Ministries and the nine other families and individuals, and kept repeating “thank you” to be passed on to all. This gathering of gifts has been healing for my mental health and I believe these small acts of kindness can help to restore hope with some of the teens in foster care. God is good-all the time!
Lynette Weiss is a volunteer with Cross Over Ministries who also facilitates the Divorce Care for Kids program.