Chilton DHR grants 130 children’s wishes this Christmas

Published 12:53 pm Thursday, December 28, 2023

By Carey Reeder | Managing Editor

The Chilton County Department of Human Resources made 130 foster children’s Christmas’ more special by fulfilling wishes on their lists. DHR granted all wishes on the children’s wish lists with the help of outpouring support from individuals, businesses and groups in the Chilton County community.

Marilyn Colson, Director at the Chilton County DHR, said that there is no numerical amount raised through the fundraiser because of the different ways people can contribute to it. Those who contributed chose to either take the wish list for a child and get the gifts themselves, or gave a monetary donation and DHR did the shopping.

“All of the financial contributions are only used for foster children, and it does not go to any other expense of the agency, just the foster children’s needs,” Colson said.

Colson, who has been with DHR for 17 years and helped put together the fundraiser each year, has seen the participation go up and become widespread. This year, groups set up angel trees in the community for people to sponsor children, and businesses took in gift cards to be donated to DHR as just some of the ways community entities helped out.

“I even had people this year who came back after already giving substantially to see if we had everything we needed,” Colson said. “It is amazing the way it continues to grow. Having 130 foster children, it is a good thing that it has grown.”

Throughout the fundraiser season, Colson said there were two instances that stood out to her that encapsulated the reason behind it. First, DHR decided to put together a float for the first time in the Clanton Christmas Parade, and the staff participation was extremely high. Colson said the float was designed for the community to see the staff that works at DHR to put a face with the work being done. To have the participation high was a great thing to see, Colson said.

Secondly, on the day the Rotary Club of Chilton County presented DHR with the check from proceeds raised at the Clanton Christmas Parade, Santa Claus paid a visit to the office as well.

“When he first came in, there was just a small group of us in the lobby, and there was a little girl who was a foster child with a supervisor of ours,” Colson said. “When she turned around and saw Santa Claus walking in the door, she said “Wow,” and went running up to him. It was just wonderful, and we got a picture made for her with Santa Claus.”