[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
Gift registries for foster children have been set up by
Amazon.com and Target. To view these registries, visit
www.target.com. 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
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