Spending time with family and loved ones may be what makes the holiday season special for many people. However, children in the state's care may face difficulties finding reasons to celebrate.
"As a parent, I want children to understand the real meaning of Christmas and enjoy the time with their families, because that is what makes the holiday so special," said Sandra Samuel, Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) supervisor. "But for children in foster care, they may be dealing with family issues that make focusing on holidays out-right horrible."
That is why CASA teams up with area churches and organizations to grant Christmas wishes.
"This is the most loving, giving community and so many of the children's wish lists are bought in full," Samuel said. "I can't explain how glad my heart is when people show their compassion."
However, Samuel said there is another way people can help CASA make Christmas special for children in their system.
"We want to get these children everything on their wish list," she said. "Many times as the hour of Santa's arrival draws near, there are still things left on the list.
"Of more concern than that, is often there are children who may be taken from their homes on Christmas Eve or day," she continued. "In those cases, we want to be able to go purchase something for those children."
Samuel said she understands that Christmas is not about monetary gifts, but through monetary gifts the community can show children they are loved.
"It just pulls at my heart so much – to think of being in a new place, or away from my family, and not because of anything I did," she said. "These kids haven't done anything wrong, most of them are victims of bad situations. These are the kids who need to be reminded that caring people do exists and they are in our community."