GOLDSBORO – In December, the Wayne Community College Association of Educational Office Professionals (WCCAEOP) held a Christmas toy drive to collect and donate gifts to children in Wayne County’s foster care system.
Without disclosing identifying information, the foster care system provided the children’s wish lists to the WCCAEOP. Toys, shoes, bikes, game systems, and other requests were noted and granted by WCC employees and community members. Individuals also donated wrapping paper for the WCCAEOP group members to wrap the gifts.
Senikka Caldwell, program manager of child welfare at the Wayne County Department of Social Services, said the foster care system received around 130 gifts for 70 children who are two months through 17 years old.
Social workers delivered the gifts to the families two weeks before Christmas, and the foster parents distributed the gifts on Christmas morning. “All of the children were very excited about their Christmas gifts,” Caldwell shared. “Some received things they have always wanted.”
Chad Evans, WCC achievement coach and president of WCCAEOP, said the support was outstanding. “Everyone came together and made it phenomenal,” he said.
Caldwell said she was glad to work with WCC for this project. “It’s awesome to partner with anybody who’s willing to help provide that positive aspect of fostering because it is hard,” she said. “The employees and kids were excited, so it turned out to be a great event that helped us tremendously.”
Community members are always welcome to prepare boxes or bags throughout the year with blankets, stuffed animals, or necessities like toiletries that kids need when they come into foster care, Caldwell said.
Evans hopes the WCCAEOP can expand on this service project in the future thanks to their new partnership with the Department of Social Services.
“You always want to be a part of something bigger than yourself,” he said. “Everyone has a moment in their life where they need help, support, or someone to lift them up. We should give back and keep paying it forward.”