Be an ELF this year: ELF, Inc. Foster Kids' Christmas Party looking for sponsors
PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) - The 22nd ELF, Inc. Foster Kids’ Christmas Party is on the books for December 11 as a group of attorneys from Pike County works to give foster kids from across the region a Christmas to remember.
“A lot of kids come into care with only the clothes on their backs. They don’t get to bring a toothbrush, a teddy bear, anything," said ELF Volunteer Leigha Stewart.
Several law offices and representatives with the Pike County Family Court work with social workers and the Cabinet for Health and Family Services to get wish lists from foster kids in Floyd, Johnson, Magoffin, Martin, and Pike counties. Using those lists, they allow people to sponsor kids for the annual event.
More than the gifts, Stewart said, the party offers a space for the kids to all be on the same page, which gives them a comfortability not often afforded.
“A lot of their stories are similar. The way that the children came into care, the placements of them,” she said. ”A lot of them feel very awkward about other people knowing. About knowing that they’re in care and knowing their situations. So, for a minute they can forget all of that."
The event will look different this year, due to the pandemic, but organizers say it is important to keep it going. Instead of the usual party, foster parents will drive the kids through to pick up gifts and a food basket. According to Stewart, it is about providing as normal a Christmas as possible.
“For these kids, this a little bit of hope and happiness for the Christmas season," Stewart said.
While the pandemic caused the changes, it also contributed to a rise in the need for more sponsors. Stewart said the increase in domestic cases and drug-related issues shows a direct correlation to the increase in foster kids in 2020.
“There’s a lot more kids coming into care. And there’s a lot more cases. So this year we expect to have a larger number than we’ve ever had,” she said.
With an expected 150 kids, she hopes more people will step in as sponsors for the ELF, Inc. program.
“Because these kids deserve happiness and they deserve hope," Stewart said.
Stewart said anyone interested in sponsoring a child, donating money, or buying supplemental gifts for the event should reach out to her on Facebook or call the Daryle Ronning and Tammy Skeens Law Offices at (606)437-6218.
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