Saturday, Nov. 12


Foster parent organization launches holiday gift drive for children of the Gulf Coast       Send a link to a friend

[NOV. 12, 2005]  GIG HARBOR, Wash. -- The National Foster Parent Association has launched a holiday gift drive to support the more than 8,000 foster children affected by Hurricane Katrina.

Americans are being asked to donate new, unwrapped toys for children ages 2 to 17. Gifts can be sent to distribution centers in either Louisiana or Mississippi.

"The devastation in the Gulf was unbelievable," said Karen Jorgenson, executive director of the National Foster Parent Association. Jorgenson recently spent a week in the Gulf Coast assessing the needs of foster families affected by the storm. "Foster families are desperately trying to keep their foster children with them, but the challenges are great. The waiting list for a FEMA trailer in Mississippi alone is in the thousands."

Generally speaking, needs fall into four categories: daily living, housing, mental heath and Christmas. In September, the National Foster Parent Association launched a successful clothing drive for foster families and raised more than $300,000 in conjunction with the Freddie Mac Foundation to support families. The foster parent organization is working on offering counseling services and has plans to help foster families rebuild their homes. Now, the association wants to bring Christmas to foster families in the Gulf.

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Gift registries for foster children have been set up by and Target. To view these registries, visit
or At the Target site, click on "Gift Registries" and complete the baby registry section with "NFPA" in the field for the first name and "Christmas" in the space for the last name (or click here to go directly to the NFPA Christmas registry at Target).

The National Foster Parent Association recommends the following items as suitable gifts: books for all ages, toddler toys, youth toys, Walkman CD players, electronics, puzzles, games, dolls, gift certificates and stocking stuffers.

Gift donations can be sent to distribution points in Mississippi or Louisiana. Addresses are available at

The National Foster Parent Association, based in Gig Harbor, Wash., is the only national organization that strives to support foster parents and remains a strong voice on behalf of all children. Currently, more than 500,000 children are in the foster care system in America. For more information about the association, visit

[National Foster Parent Association news release]

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