Organization makes sure Christmas is special for NEA Foster children

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - For six years, April Murphy and other social workers and students from ASU have worked to make Christmas special for foster children in Region 8.

"They've been displaced from their families and come Christmas morning...I just would like for them to feel happy," she said.

Murphy said the idea came to her while she was a student at Arkansas State University.

"Karen Fullen, an instructor from ASU, I had her social work class and she instructed us to make a difference in a child's life," Murphy explained. "So I like rodeo and equine events so we started this and we've done it ever since."

In October, the organization put on the 6th Annual Ranch Rodeo, where 100% of the proceeds went to shopping for these children.

This year, Murphy said they raised $12,900 to buy gifts for 126 foster children in Northeast Arkansas.

Each child is allotted a certain amount of money for their gifts.

"A toddler, we allocate less money than we do for say a 12 year old," Murphy explained. "This 10 year old boy, we have $120 allocated to him, but the sad thing about it is, most of the stuff they request usually don't even reach that amount."

So, she said. They buy extra.

"This boy, he asked for legos, a cd player and a camo hat, so I bought him a camo jacket to go along with it."

Organizing this event makes Murphy realize how blessed she is.

"Looking at the requests on some of these's sad because people do take for granted what they actually have."

To put into perspective how much the organization has grown, in 2010, they raised roughly $6,500 to benefit 60 children.

Parker Road Walmart in Jonesboro helped the organization by packaging the gifts up to allow for easier transport.

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