5 Ways to Serve Foster Families This Holiday Season

  1. Connect with local foster care

The holidays are just around the corner, and foster care organizations like IDFAPA need your help more than ever. In times like this, the importance of family is emphasized in the media we consume daily. Many of us have traditions that involve family for the holiday season and likewise have loved ones that gather from near and far to celebrate. Now I raise the question: How often do people think about how lucky they are to have family around them?

To children in foster care, though, this is likely considered a luxury that many of them do not have. These kids deserve a happy holiday season filled with joy and smiles like the rest of us. So what are some ways we can connect with foster care organizations and help these children have a better holiday experience?

Firstly you can donate and provide gifts for the children. Even small things, such as coloring books or sets of stickers, can go a long way. There is an Amazon Wishlist that you can find on the IDFAPA website that will show you what the kids ask for. You can give new or used items. Think about how much a brand-new winter coat could make a little boy’s Christmas that much more enjoyable.

You can also volunteer to help these kids have a great holiday as well. The volunteers can help with things such as organizing the storefront at the village or even with fundraisers. These kids deserve a good Christmas, and the best way to do that is to help them in any way that you can. Whether that be through your gifts and donations or through the time and effort spent, it all goes a long way to building a connection with the foster care centers and the kids that are inside of the foster care system.

2. Amazon Smile

Shockingly, over 98 million people in the United States are using the Amazon app every month, and predictions suggest that it will continue to rise during this holiday season. Now, why is that important? Amazon Smile is a very simple way to support charities at no extra cost! As a result of your holiday shopping, Amazon Smile will donate 0.5% of your total purchase to the charity of your choice.

That means that over six and a half billion dollars will be donated to charities this year. Crazy right?  The best part is that it’s at the touch of your fingers and can be done RIGHT NOW1. Signing up is as easy as 1,2,3. First, go to https://smile.amazon.com/charity?orig=%2F. Second, sign in with your regular amazon account that you use. Lastly,  select IDFAPA as the charity of your choice, and WALLAH! You are all set to shop at no extra cost!

This holiday season, don’t forget about the individuals that need your help most with no extra push on the ole wallet!  Sign up today!

3. Giving Tuesday

The Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons bring a significant amount of opportunities for spending and splurging—both for ourselves and for others. Amid the distractions of self-indulgence, Black Friday and Cyber Monday can bring, Giving Tuesday emerges to turn our hearts and thoughts back to giving to others. Giving Tuesday’s mission statement is to “…reimagine a world built upon shared humanity and radical generosity.”

Participating in Giving Tuesday isn’t one singular act. With all the ideas and options available, you can find an opportunity that works best for you and your situation. You can even combine your efforts with people in your family or community. Some ways you can participate is by making a donation to a local or worldwide charity, donating your time to others through service, giving away some of what you have to others, or even something as simple as helping bring a smile to someone’s face.

So how can you use Giving Tuesday as an opportunity to help foster families? It’s easier than you might think. First, if you know of any foster families in your area, contact them and see if there’s a service you can help provide, like cooking or cleaning. You could buy them some necessities that they’re running low on, like clothing or hygiene products. If you don’t know of any foster families, but you still want to help, you can find a local foster association and share your services that way by checking what they need from volunteers.

If none of these options is something you have the time for, one of the best things you can do is simply donate to your local foster care associations so that they can continue to have the funds to help more children in need. Some of them may have a place on their website you can go to donate, or you could also donate through programs like AmazonSmile, using them as your chosen organization. If you’re an Idaho local, IDFAPA is a great association to choose for donations.

Whether your efforts seem big or small, anything you can give makes a huge difference in the lives of foster parents and children, especially this holiday season.

Source used: https://www.givingtuesday.org

4. The Village

Think of your favorite gift you’ve ever received around the holiday season! Got it? Many foster children go without gifts, let alone basic needs like additional clothing, nice school supplies, and toys or activities they can enjoy. Often, foster families taking these children in are already giving all they can to parent these children, so gifts aren’t always considered a priority. The Village, operated by Idaho Foster & Adoptive Parent Association, is a foster care closet serving foster children and families in Southeastern Idaho. 

The Village has shared what they need to keep this charity running. “We collect essential care and comfort items for newborns up to teenagers and invite CASA workers, social workers, and foster families to bring foster children into our store to choose what they need and want, free of charge… The Village also keeps independent living kits in stock. These are filled with items a youth will need when moving out on their own for the first time.” Not only is this a place where children and youth can make sure they have what they need, but they can feel a sense of control over something in their life and choose things that they want that will make them happier.

Run by volunteers, the village is a beautiful way to give back to the community and offer support to these foster children and families, whether it be volunteering your time in person or donating. This time of year is perfect to think more about ways to serve, so even if it is not realistic for you yourself to donate, spreading awareness of this organization to your family and friends in the community will always help too.

Learn more about the village here! https://idfapa.org/the-village/

5. Why are nonprofits important? What value does my donation hold?

With the holidays approaching quickly, there is a fantastic opportunity to gift something valuable to your community in supporting a local nonprofit. With organizations like the Idaho Foster and Adoptive Parent Association, donations can be made with cash or even physical supplies. But how exactly can your donations make a difference in a foster child’s life? Let’s break it down.

You may have the ability to give $30. That’s great! That covers the cost of a child’s school supplies for an entire year, including a notebook, pencils, a backpack, etc. You can only afford to give $5? Fantastic, that’s a stuffed animal for foster parents to give their toddlers for Christmas. Can’t give cash donations but still want to help? There are options for that too. If you’re an Amazon Smile user, choose IDFAPA as your charity, and 0.5% of your purchase will be automatically donated without any extra cost to you. What if you don’t shop online? Drop off a bag of clothes after your next spring cleaning. The Village always accepts physical donations that are in good condition to use secondhand.

Nonprofits need your help because the reality is that they cannot support society for free. For most nonprofits, donations only make up 10% of their income. The rest comes from other sources like grants and investments. Imagine how much larger of an impact they could be making if we, as community members, were willing to give just a little bit more. When planning your gift-giving this year, consider contributing to a local charity like IDFAPA. Your small donation could make a world of a difference to a child in your community this Christmas. Check out more about IDFAPA here: https://idfapa.org/.

Image Credit: All images from Unsplash

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