It’s easy to get overwhelmed with emotion when you consider the unfathomable quandary that hundreds of thousands of foster children face each day.
The thought of being removed from one’s family and placed with a temporary one until they or another family opens their arms (and hearts), providing love, shelter, and guidance, is daunting. Yet, it happens thousands of time every day throughout the country.
Thankfully, there are organizations like St. Louis’ Foster and Adoptive Care Coalition that serve the greater St. Louis, Missouri area with the tools, resources, training, and recruitment programs that facilitate the quest to find forever homes for foster kids.
Debbie Genung, Director of Development, cheerfully admits that she and the staff keep a positive outlook while performing these crucial services because “We’re so good at what we do that we have lots of happy endings to celebrate.”
Every year, more than 13,000 people are touched by this worthwhile organization, and Goodshop is one of the many companies that they lean on for financial support.
Though they use Goodshop throughout the year, the holidays are a special time for them to maximize the fundraising benefits that Goodshop provides.
It’s when the organization’s Little Wishes program shifts to the Little Wishes Holiday program.
Genung explains that while the ongoing Little Wishes program grants foster kids less tangible wishes like a trip to a theme park or a chance to attend prom, the Little Wishes Holiday program is when foster kids can pick out toys and other gift items in the hope that generous supporters will grant their holiday wish and purchase that item for them.
It’s a time-consuming process that actually starts in August and involves setting up an online internal catalog of items, all available through Goodshop’s shopping affiliates. Foster children and their foster parents pick out an item that they’d like. Each child receives an online profile with their selected item, which is then posted on the organization’s site towards the end of November. As the annual campaign commences, promotional television spots and media outreach help make these wishes come true.
But, that is just the beginning.
The fun part starts when Genung and her band of volunteer “elves” gather one day in December to consummate the purchases on Goodshop, ensuring that all the profiled kids receive their “wishes” before the holidays are over.
“Goodshop is definitely a wonderful tool for us to have during the holidays,” she says. “We have people that take a vacation day from work so that they can do this in our office. We have a lot of fun, we bring in food, and we have the same people who come back every year, helping to grant wishes for these children.”
So far, they have raised more than $4,000 by using Goodshop during the holidays, and throughout the year. “Every dollar that we raise through Goodshop helps us find families for kids,” Genung says. “No gift is too small.”
In fact, Genung is such a fan of Goodshop that she encourages staff to make Goodshop their office computer’s browser home page so that anytime they need to purchase something for the organization (or for themselves), they are reminded of the site. “I use it all the time when I shop. It doesn’t cost me anything,” she says. “It’s a win-win.”
Genung describes the Foster and Adoptive Care Coalition not as a placement agency, but as a matchmaking service.
Sounds like a perfect match to us.