Forgotten Children’s Fund Spreads Good Cheer and Gifts (lots of gifts)
Hundreds of volunteers with the Forgotten Children’s Fund (FCF) have opened the “North Pole” to prepare and wrap upwards of 20,000 gifts, toys, books and bicycles that will be delivered at Christmas to more than 700 local families.
“We spend months buying new toys, books, winter coats and stocking stuffers so that families who might otherwise go without, can have a happy holiday,” said Dan Wood, President of the Forgotten Children’s Fund. “Our volunteer Santas and elves distribute all these gifts at Christmas to families and their children who aren’t receiving aid from other organizations.”
It all started back in 1976 with a letter written to Santa Claus from a child who missed out on Christmas. Going on its 34th year, the Forgotten Children’s Fund has stepped in to help those families who have fallen on hard times, and receive little to no aid from other organizations. Families are referred by schools, churches, police agencies, and others. The all-volunteer organization with more than 1000 volunteers, receives ‘wish-list’ letters from families, and then buys thousands of personalized gifts.
“My approach is to BE the mother choosing something safe for an infant, to BE the 3 year old girl hoping for a doll, the 8 year old boy wanting a remote controlled vehicle, the preteen needing something creative or inspiring,” said Barbara Fruhling, FCF toy buyer. “I’ve had years of experience listening to their wish lists, and that has prepared me better than anything could!”
FCF volunteers then plan a logistical miracle to deliver the toys, books, clothing, blankets and other necessities at the holidays. About 50 Santa’s and dozens of elves visit each family’s home.
“When we show up, there is tremendous joy, relief and awe that Santa is actually at their house,” said Debbie Acton, longtime FCF volunteer, Head Elf if you will, who orchestrates the wrap center at Santa’s Workshop overseeing hundreds of volunteers. “The gifts we bring have the child’s name right on it, and Santa is personally delivering it so the kids, and the parents, too, are pretty excited!”
Even more importantly, the Santa and elves can help determine whether the family needs help beyond the holidays, such as additional food or money to buy the heating bill.
Right now, more donations and volunteers are welcome to create holiday cheer for families who otherwise would have little to celebrate. FCF is run entirely by volunteers, and because of supplier contributions and purchasing relationships, each dollar donated is stretched to its fullest.
Forgotten Children’s Fund volunteers deliver toys to families in King, Pierce, Snohomish, Island, Whatcom, Skagit and Chelan counties.
The Forgotten Children’s Fund is a non-profit, IRS approved tax deductible charity that has provided a memorable Christmas to more than 80,000 youngsters and their families since 1976, delivering new toys, winter jackets, bicycles and food. FCF also operates a summer Ranch and Riding program at the M-C Ranch on Whidbey Island, serving disadvantaged children. For more information, please visit www.forgottenchildrensfund.org, or www.m-bar-c.org.