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Non-profit organization that gives children in foster care hope for the holidays

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CLEVELAND – Opening presents during the holiday season, be it Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, is a December tradition that many people, especially children, look forward to. But not every child is that lucky.

What you need to know

  • More than 14,000 children are in foster care in Ohio
  • The nonprofit organization Fostering Hope works to bring hope to children who need it most
  • Every year they wrap hundreds of gifts for children in foster care

“You look at your kids and how lucky they are, yes, to get multiple gifts, if you know, if you’re in a position to do that,” says Dionna Gore, a board member and volunteer at the nonprofit Fostering. Hope. “On Christmas morning, every child deserves the chance to get presents. And this is the way they feel loved at a certain age, right?

According to Fostering Hope, approximately 14,000 children in Ohio are in foster care, some children living in group homes and others with temporary families.

Dionna Gore, a board member and volunteer at the nonprofit Fostering Hope. (Spectrum News 1/Taylor Bruck)

For Gore, the mission of Fostering Hope is close to her heart. Her two younger brothers were in foster care for over 10 years and in 2021, her family adopted them. Gore became a volunteer with the nonprofit earlier this year and soon became a board member. Fostering Hope aims to bring hope and joy to children in foster homes in Northeast Ohio. They want to connect and enrich their lives with unique experiences and healing. Each year, volunteers wrap hundreds of gifts to open during the holiday season.

“Just to give a little attention, if you will, of a gift, presents, love, you know, attention. It goes far. Some of these kids will remember this all their lives. It changes your life,” Gore said. “I want other children to have the opportunity to thrive, even if they are not in an adoption situation, by receiving love, attention, and also feeling that they are seen and heard.”

Karen Carter is the executive director of the nonprofit organization. She said a child moves an average of seven times within their foster care experience.

Karen Carter, Executive Director of Fostering Hope. (Spectrum News 1/Taylor Bruck)

“We asked them very specifically: what do they want for Christmas or the holidays? And that’s very important, because with all the moving kids in foster homes do, they’ve often never been asked what toys would you like? Or what gift would you really want? So we take the time to ask them,” Carter said.

In Cuyahoga County, Carter said, there are more than 2,500 children in foster care. This year they can complete the wish list of about 800 of those children, with gifts and stockings combined. All items are donated by companies and individuals. She said the program continues to grow every year.

“With every program we do, every gift we give, we want to show kids that there are people out there who care, who are kind, and who really want to listen to them and respect who they are as individuals.”

Their goal is to make sure the kids know that while they wait to find the love of a permanent family, they still have the love of a great community.

Fostering Hope is always in need of volunteers and donations. For more information, visit here.