Children have made many sacrifices during the past year. As the Covid-19 pandemic swept the world, everything from playdates to summer camp has been on the chopping block. Not even school, the cornerstone of nearly every American childhood, was entirely spared.
In spring of 2020, when schools suddenly shuttered and most people sheltered inside their homes, Foster Friends instituted two new programs to bring enrichment and joy to Collin County foster children. The first program, the Fun at Home program, provided gift cards for educational or recreational enrichment for children in foster care during school closures. The program allowed caregivers to purchase books, art supplies, sports equipment, online classes, or other materials to assist in the children’s continuing development at home. The popular program served many of the county’s foster children, and ended in September of 2020, around the time that many local children had the option to return to school. During that time, we heard from many caregivers who told us about how they spent the gift cards to provide their children with new activities for learning or play while stuck at home.
A second program Foster Friends instituted in response to the pandemic was a birthday gift card program. Recognizing that children’s social events, including birthday parties, were largely cancelled for the year, Foster Friends decided to send a little joy to the county’s foster children to brighten their birthdays. In the month of a child’s birthday, caregivers were eligible to request a $50 gift card from Foster Friends to be used for gifts or party supplies. In the same vein, high school graduates were also eligible for gift cards to celebrate their graduations in spring of 2020, and later in the year Foster Friends expanded its holiday gift program to include even more children, recognizing that 2020 had been a disappointing year for children and a difficult year financially for many caregivers.
In January 2021, Foster Friends renewed the birthday gift card program through the end of 2021. Caregivers interested in applying for their child’s gift card should follow the directions at the link below.