Region 8 DHS needs help to make Christmas merry

By Brandi Hodges - bio | email

HARRISBURG, AR (KAIT) - In Region eight there are thousands of children in foster care and each one of them is looking forward to a merry Christmas.  Every year the Department of Human Services in Poinsett County purchases presents for children in their care.  Donations are required for those with DHS to provide Christmas for foster children.

While they do have several thousand dollars already, folks in Poinsett County aren't seeing the type of donations they have seen in the past and now Christmas may not be as jolly.

Decorated towns remind us Christmas is around the corner.

"Normally by this time of year we're trying to do our Christmas shopping but we keep putting it off because we're trying to gather more money before we ever start the shopping," said Janice Griffin, DHS Administrator for Craighead County.

Every year the Poinsett County DHS office collects donations to purchase presents for the children they represent.

"Without the donations that we receive in making us able to purchase the gifts, many children would not receive anything for Christmas," said Dianne Stirling.

"Some foster parents do buy for their children that they keep but they're not always able to afford to give them a good Christmas," said Griffin.

Griffin said that is where they need your help.  They usually purchase for around 500 children.

"We're not going to be able to purchase for even probably half that many unless more donations come in," said Griffin.

Griffin said they have around $8,000, but they need about $5,000 more to provide presents for the children.

"I guess it's just the economy that's hit everyone but the last three years we've seen a decline in the amount of donations," said Griffin.

"Donations have been slow this year but it seems like the closer we get to Christmas the more the spirit moves the people," said Stirling.

In the past they've bought presents for children of single parents but with fewer donations coming in, Griffin says they likely won't be able to help those children.  Poinsett County DHS Administrator Dianne Stirling said children don't understand a bad economy, they understand when there aren't presents under the tree.

"We've all become accustomed to Santa Clause coming and we want Santa Clause to come to every body's house," said Stirling.

In Craighead County there is a need for wrapping paper and bows so that the DHS workers can wrap the gifts for the holiday.

If you would like to help you can contact Poinsett County DHS at 870-578-5491.
If you would like to send in a donation you can send it to:
Poinsett County Department of Human Services/Christmas Donation
P.O. Box 526
Harrisburg, AR 72432

You can also help out in Craighead County by calling 870-972-1732 extension 1329 for Janice Griffin or extension 1358 for Marcia Perry.  The address you can send donations to is:
2920 McClellan Drive
Jonesboro, AR 72401

The folks with the Poinsett County DHS will also be filling stockings with goodies for the children.  The stockings were made and donated by the Poinsett County Extension Homemakers Club.

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