Chilton DHR starting Christmas Wishes for Foster Children

Published 10:39 am Friday, November 17, 2023

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By Carey Reeder | Managing Editor

The Chilton County Department of Human Resources is kicking off its annual Christmas Wishes for Foster Children and is looking for sponsors and donations. There are currently 131 children in foster care in Chilton County alone, and the DHR’s annual project fulfills the wishes of those children facing the toughest of times.

“We want to make Christmas as special and magical for our foster children as it is for children who will be able to spend the holiday with their own families,” project coordinator Leigh Ann Boddie said in a press release from DHR.

Ninety-seven children in Chilton County achieved permanency in the last year through either returning home, being placed with relatives or by being adopted. Twenty-four children were adopted by foster parents in the 2022-2023 fiscal year.

Chilton County DHR director Marilyn Colson has been with the DHR for 17 years, and the project has been going on each year since. She said the county has historically had a higher number of foster children compared to other counties around the same size. However, the response the community has had for the project has helped hundreds of foster kids in the county over the years.

“The community has become more and more familiar with the project, and we have amazing community support from the queen groups, school groups, churches, clubs and just people,” Colson said. “We had one contribution last year from a man that was just traveling through, read about the project and sent us a check. It is one of the fun things we do, and what it does for the workers and staff (at DHR) is it makes us realize that folks in the community support us and what we are doing. There is that sense of gratification, also.”

The foster children give the DHR their Christmas wishes, and as they are reasonable, they try to make those wishes come true through the project. People can contribute to the project by either sponsoring wishes of a specific child by calling the DHR or finding a child on one of the Angel Trees around Chilton County, purchasing gift cards for teen gifts or making a financial donation to the Foster Children’s Fund and DHR can shop for the person.

“We try to meet those wishes, and we are not just giving them some random toy they may or may not want,” Colson said. “That makes a child feel special, and these children have been through a lot of trauma, so that feeling of special is important for them.”

Those interested in sponsoring a child can contact the Chilton County DHR at 205-258-4914, or email Boddie at Contributions through the mail can be sent to P.O. Box 1699, Clanton, AL, 35046, or contributions can be brought to the agency at 324 Health Center Drive, Clanton.