The HHS State Office teamed up with the Governor’s Commission for Women and Partnerships for Children to host the third annual Holiday Wishes gift drive benefiting children in foster care in Central Texas.
On Dec. 7–8, 25 HHS team members volunteered to collect and tag gifts. The volunteers stayed warm in festive sweaters as they passed out candy canes to sponsors and shared in the excitement as bikes, dolls and stuffed animals were unloaded from vehicles.
Not even the Grinch himself could deny feeling the holiday spirit as the last toys were loaded onto PFC’s truck and headed to the hands of eager children.
“The holidays are not always a joyous time, especially for children who have been removed from their homes,” said Rachel Naron, Human Resources Employee Programs coordinator. “Every child deserves to feel the pleasure of receiving a much-anticipated present. Because of the generosity of HHS team members, 649 children will smile a little wider this holiday season and will have gifts to open.”
HHS employees sponsored 375 wish lists in 2020. This year, HHS employees increased their efforts to 649 wish lists and donated over 1,900 gifts to foster children from infants to 18 years old.
The HHS HR Employee Programs team led the effort by promoting the event, collecting sponsorship information and coordinating a successful gift drop-off.
PFC serves as a support system for Child Protective Services’ caseworkers and children, providing programs such as an emergency resource room, a mentor program for teenage foster youth and the Heart Gallery, which features children who are available for adoption.
PFC oversees the Holiday Wishes initiative, which relies on people to donate gifts to fulfill wish lists. In 2020, with the help of individual sponsors, PFC provided over 24,000 gifts to more than 6,800 children in foster care.
A video of HHS team members working hard and spreading cheer at the toy drive is available here.