By: Annalisa Ciro
BRIDGETON, N.J. — Shuffling across the polished chestnut floors, Theo weaves around a living room draped in red and gold, dodging towering armchairs and lanky-legged tables as he lugs his trash bag of belongings to his new room. With a decisive thud, he drops the bag at the bedroom door. He pulls himself cautiously onto the bed, and crawls under the cold, unused sheets. Snowfall caresses the bedroom window with the sound of muffled laughter. Lights twinkle red, green, and gold, but Theo is swallowed in the loneliness of an unfamiliar room in an unfamiliar house with unfamiliar people. Tears seep onto his cheeks as he stares out the frosted window, imagining himself surrounded by his family, opening presents together in the comfort of his own home.
Theo’s story is not unique, but one experienced by countless foster youth across the country and in our very hometowns of South Jersey. It is a story of a child who is separated from their family during the holidays feeling scared and alone during what should be the most wonderful time of year. But you can help change that story.
Brighten up a foster child’s life this holiday season by donating to CASA of Cumberland, Gloucester, and Salem Counties’ (CASA of CGS) Holiday Drive campaign for #GivingTuesday. Being separated from family is heartbreaking and traumatic for most children in foster care — especially during the holiday season, when togetherness is so deeply cherished. So, each year, CASA of CGS holds a Holiday Drive campaign to remind their CASA children that they are loved and they are not alone.
CASA of CGS currently serves 450 abused and neglected children in their three counties, and they need your help to make this season bright for their CASA children. Something as simple as opening a present meant just for them can make a child feel less scared and less alone. What better way to celebrate the spirit of giving than by helping a child in need feel supported, loved, and cared for during what should be the most wonderful time of year?
By donating to CASA of CGS’ Giving Tuesday Holiday campaign, you would help provide gifts to the hundreds of foster children in need in our community. The organization’s goal is to raise $5,000 for its children. With your help today on Giving Tuesday, CASA of CGS can reach its goal this year.
You can make a donation here. Please submit your donations no later than December 14. Due to COVID-19, CASA of CGS is encouraging monetary donations; however, if you would like to donate presents (or if you have any questions), contact Hillary Nichols at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CASA of CGS is a local nonprofit organization that trains teams of volunteer advocates to speak up on behalf of abused and neglected children in court. If you are interested in volunteering for CASA of CGS, apply on its website at www.wespeakupforchildren.org, and follow CASA of CGS on Facebook and Instagram.
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