With more than 400 children in custody through Stark County Children Services, Lisa Wojack and Cassie Tucker are doing all they can to help those in the foster care system have a merry Christmas.
For the second year now, the two have teamed up for Project KARE, a Stark County Department of Job & Family Services program in which anyone can donate gift cards and presents to foster children from infants through teenagers.
The holiday program is just one portion of Project KARE. (You can learn more about it here.)
Tucker said the idea to start the holiday portion of Project KARE came when she was working at a summer camp for foster kids, put on by Faith Family Church. All the children in that summer camp, she said, are in "permanent situations," meaning they won't be reunited with their families.
"One time in particular I met a boy ... and he just inspired me," Tucker said. "He was great. He was just an awesome kid," she said, adding she had wanted to take the boy in, but she and her family weren't able to at that time.
Though she wasn't able to help the boy specifically, she did think of a way she could help foster children throughout the county.
In its first year, the holiday portion of Project KARE raised $1,800 and, because of the program, 25 children were able to receive presents specific to their wants and needs, Tucker said.
Now, the program is already ahead of where it was last year.
Are you hoping to donate this year? Here's how you can help:
- Make a tax-deductible donation to Project KARE by writing a check
- Buy a gift card to Target or Wal-Mart for the teens
- Shop for a specific child (you'll receive a card with the child's name, age and needs)
For more information about where to send checks, how to donate or who you can shop for this year, call Tucker at 330-324-2285 or Wojack at 330-704-0732.