Theresa Toia

Since 2007, Friends of Foster Kids has donated over 10,000 presents each holiday season to children who are in foster care, and in need. The charity was founded by Theresa Toia, who’s daughter Jessica is a caseworker for foster children in Macomb County, Michigan. Jessica expressed concern to her mother when her entire caseload of children were not receiving a Christmas for the second year in a row due to the recession, and most had never experienced a Christmas at all. Theresa immediately wanted to find a way to help, and teamed up with her friends to start the charity and begin receiving wishlists from foster kids all over Southeast Michigan.

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Solely through donations and volunteering, Friends of Foster Kids has annually helped an estimated 1,000 foster kids each holiday season. While many are infants and children, FoFK has also reached out to teenagers and young adults who have lived their life in foster care and are still struggling to find a place to live and afford everyday essentials.

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Caseworkers work with the kids to carefully craft wishlists of three or four presents they’d like the most. Through the goodness of their hearts, volunteers pick up a list and seek out as many presents as they can. Then, the presents are brought to FoFK where volunteers carefully wrap each present and add extra essentials to their stockings like blankets, coats, handmade scarves and more.

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Until this year, Friends of Foster Kids only had a temporary storage space to receive and wrap presents. They were stuck with only tables inside of different buildings each year. Mike Schodowski, our Vice President of Sales, met Theresa 5 years ago and was moved after learning about the charity and why she started it. He asked how he could help, and Shelving Inc donated 25 rivet shelving units to store donations and presents at their headquarters. Each year, Shelving Inc would help install and break down the units to be moved to different locations and add more shelving as needed.

Luckily, another donor offered for FoFK to stay in a permanent location year-round, and now they have a place to call home! Theresa said she was very grateful for both donations, and how easy it has been to keep the presents organized.

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If you’d like to help a foster child in need, volunteer or donate please contact Friends of Foster Kids. They accept donations year-round and try to help just as often, too. Celebrate #GivingTuesday by giving back, too!

 

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