Foster In Texas (FIT), a program of Lutheran Social Services, went all out celebrating Christmas with their foster families this year and we are excited to share stories and photos from a few of our 14 local foster offices.
AUSTIN: [reported by Lindsey Stockton, FIT regional director]
The Austin FIT Christmas party was held at Triumphant Love Lutheran Church on December 19 and the church generously provided dinner for our foster children and their families. Placed around the room, were games that included prizes and two tables for arts and crafts.
And then … Santa came!
Children enjoyed having their photos taken with Santa, and excitement grew, as he passed out presents.
Corpus Christi: [reported by Angelita Figueroa, FIT area director]
The Corpus Christi FIT office held an amazing Christmas party for our foster families on December 20 that included face painting, games, balloon artists and dancing with a local DJ. Pastor Patsy Koeneke of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church graciously allowed us to hold our event in the church hall. Santa, along with Mrs. Claus and one of his elves, took pictures with all the children and distributed presents donated by Trinity Lutheran Church, Our Lady of the Pillar Parish and Grace United Methodist Church. We want to thank these churches for their generosity and for bringing such happy smiles to our kids and their foster parents!
Dallas/Richardson: [reported by Rebekah Poling]
Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Dallas hosted a fun Christmas party for local FIT families with an abundance of help from some stellar volunteers: the Peace Riders Motorcycle Group, National Charity League and “Ryan” the stocking-maker. Children played games, made hand-print Christmas tree paintings that turned out beautifully and a gingerbread house-making contest meant prizes for the winners. One particular highlight of the party was the photo booth, where kids lined up to take their special Christmas photos.
DJ Nick Amendola kept things moving, and lo and behold, the Krum High School band performed once again! Scrumptious desserts were provided by the National Charity League and Rejoice Lutheran Church in Frisco. When the happy children and their foster parents headed home, each was given a Santa hat and poinsettia. The spirit of Christmas was everywhere!
Fort Worth: [reported by Rebekah Poling, associate VP of development]
The Fort Worth party was held at Calvary Lutheran Church, with lots of help from an amazing team of volunteers and Janelle Miller, Director of Youth and Family Ministries for Calvary Lutheran. Children played games including basketball and four square, made crafts and family teams competed in a gingerbread house-making competition. The Krum High School band gave a special performance and a wonderful meal was generously donated by Napoli’s Italian Café & Confectionary in Grapevine and Wagon Grill in Grapevine.
Santa was on hand to present toys and gifts to each child – he was assisted by volunteer elves including Fossil employees in Dallas who wrapped the gifts and special elf “Ryan” who made the stockings. With tins of desserts and lots of music, laughter and presents for families to enjoy, everyone had a joyous Christmas celebration!
Laredo: [reported by Oscar Guerra, FIT area director]
The Laredo FIT office hosted a Christmas party for their 67 foster children and 28 foster families at the Monte Carlo Reception Hall on December 23. The hall was beautifully decorated with a white and gold Christmas theme and families were greeted by a life-size Santa Claus in the main lobby. During the party, everyone enjoyed a delicious three-course meal and each child received several presents made possible through the generosity of the Lamar Bruni Vergara Trust and Foundation.
A big thank you to our FIT staff who purchased and delivered the Christmas gifts:
|Linda Mendiola, FIT recruiter||Fabiola Erhard, FIT- FSW||Dora Solis, FIT-FSW|
|Guadalupe Martinez, FIT-FSW||Monica Bondoc, placement coordinator||Esther Leija, secretary|
For the fifth year in a row, children were delighted by an awesome Santa Claus played by Roger Allen. Thanks so much Roger! The Munequitas (dolls) provided the entertainment consisting of games, songs, balloon animals and contests for the kids.
In addition, FIT area director Oscar Guerra presented Laredo’s foster families with door prizes and boxes of chocolates as tokens of appreciation for their loyalty and commitment to FIT. All foster parents and children had such a great time and said they are already looking forward to next year’s Christmas party.
This December was a festive time for all our foster children, parents and FIT staff who celebrated together. May we never forget the reason for the season, or our FIT Christmas celebrations, which successfully bring families and communities together in love – for each other and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
FIT is a program of Lutheran Social Services of the South. For more information, please visit www.FosterInTexas.org.